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TEXAS 



THE GULF OF MEXICO; 



YACHTING IN THE NEW WORLD : 



MRS. HOUSTOUN. 



WITH PORTRAITS AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 



VOL. II. 



LONDON : 

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET. 

1844. 



PRINTED BY W. NTCOL, 60, PALL MALL. 



CONTENTS OF VOL. II. 



CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

Lighthouse at the entrance of the Mississippi. 
Winter scenery of its banks. Extreme cold. 
Visit to the shore. Venomous snake. Ran on 
board by a steamer. Arrival at New Orleans. 
Amusement of the inhabitants 1 

CHAPTER II. 

Florida Indians. Their habits. Party of priso- 
ners. The chief, " Tiger-Tail " 23 

CHAPTER III. 

Public carriages. Negro slaves. Their habits and 
customs. Absence of religious feelings and ob- 
servance at New Orleans. Favourite sports. 
Stoppage of a bank. American crimps. Me- 
thodical habits of the citizens. Commerce of 
New Orleans , 37 



IV 



CHAPTER IV. 

PAGE 

Mr. Clay, the popular orator. General remarks 
on American society and manners. Departure 
from New Orleans 64 

CHAPTER V. 

Second arrival at Galveston. Texan news. The 
Ellen Frankland steamer's voyage up the Trinity 
river. Its importance. State of commerce. 
Capacity of Galveston harbour. False accounts 
of crime in Texas. Fortune-getting propensity 88 

CHAPTER VI. 

Sufferings of emigrants. Texas an advantageous 
field for settlers. Climate. Productions of the 
Country. Disadvantages 112 

CHAPTER VII. 

Patience and perseverance indispensable to a settler 
in a new Country. Story of a young emigrant's 
sufferings 126 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Abundance of game. Severe northers peculiar to 
the Gulf of Mexico. Gradual encroachment of 



PAGE 

land upon the sea. Heavy swell on the bar. 
Different classes of titles to land. Texas peculi- 
arly adapted for breeding stock . . . . .145 

CHAPTER IX. 

History and character of General Houston, Presi- 
dent of Texas. Run for the Presidency. Whit- 
tling. Discomfort of travelling in Texas . .161 

CHAPTER X. 

Commencement of an excursion up the Country. 
The Houston steamer. Her passengers. The 
town of Houston. Tavern fare at Houston. 
Start for the Prairie 178 

CHAPTER XL 

Scenery of the Prairie. Free and easy manners of 
the innkeeper's son. Indians of the Lipan tribe. 
Letter of condolence to the Lipans on the death 
of their chief 193 

CHAPTER XII. 

Dangers of travelling in the Prairie. Last evening 
at Houston. Severe frost. Return from Hous- 
ton to Galveston. The Opossum. Political con- 
ferences and discussion on the slave-trade. 
Slave- owners sufferers by its continuance . . 204 



CHAPTER XIII. 

PAGF 

Character of the Negro slave. Probability of free- 
dom being granted by the Whites. The tariff. 
A city in embryo. Return to the Yacht . . 224 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Severe norther. The rattlesnake, &c. Humming 
birds. Summary mode of ejecting abolitionists 
from Galveston. National Guard. Burying 
ground. Texan duel. Facility of obtaining a 
divorce. Agreeable present on the last day of 
our stay. Good wishes to the Republic . .236 

CHAPTER XV. 

Departure from Galveston for Havana. Severe 
gale. Appearance of the sea under its influ- 
ence. Dangerous navigation of the Gulf of 
Florida. Incidents on board the Yacht. Ar- 
rival at Havana. Moro Castle. The bay. 
Visit of the Spanish authorities. Dinner on 
shore at the Consul- General's. Heat of the 
climate. Manners, habits, and amusements of 
the Ladies. Visit to the Captain General Valdez 259 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Historical notice of Cuba. Commerce. Cruel 



vn 

PAGE 

treatment of slaves. Creoles. Revolt of the 
Matanzas. Anticipated revolt of the black po- 
pulation. Exclusive state of society. " Sugar 
Counts." Animals, birds, noxious insects, and 
reptiles. Rail-road. Copper, silver, and coal 
mines. Splendid scenery. Cuba indebted for 
its prosperity to Viceroy Tacon. Plaza de To- 
ros. The Cathedral 287 

CHAPTER XVII. 

Magnificence of private houses. Ceremonies of 
the Holy Week. Entrance of H. M. Ship the 
Illustrious, Admiral Sir Charles Adam. High 
price of provisions. Fruits. High rents. Good 
Friday. Religious procession. Protestant or- 
dinances strictly forbidden. Race-course. Death 
of poor Nanny. Theatre of Tacon. Dance on 
board the flag- ship. Our last evening at Ha- 
vana 303 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Departure from Havana. " Mother Carey's 
Chickens." Cupid, Psyche, and Pedro. Ber- 
muda, St. George's harbour. Hamilton. Ber- 
mudian population. Staple commodities. Whale 
fishing. Delightful gardens. Visit to the Bishop 
of Newfoundland. The sea grape. " The Pride 



Vlll 

PAGE 

of India." Ireland harbour. The last home of 
" the United Service." Departure for England 329 

CHAPTER XIX. 

The Azores. Terceira. Appearance of Fayal from 
the sea. Scilly Islands. Eddystone Light- 
house. Portland. The North Foreland. Con- 
clusion 355 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



City of Houston to face the title-page. 

New Orleans black dandy page 40 

President Houston 166 

Havana Harbour 271 

Plaza des Annas, Havana 284 



CHAPTER I. 



LIGHTHOUSE AT THE ENTRANCE OP THE MISSISSIPPI. 
WINTER SCENERY OP ITS BANKS. EXTREME COLD. 
VISIT TO THE SHORE. VENOMOUS SNAKE. RAN ON 
BOARD BY A STEAMER. ARRIVAL AT NEW ORLEANS. 
AMUSEMENT OF THE INHABITANTS. 



Old Ocean was, 
Infinity of ages ere we breathed 
Existence — and he will be beautiful 
When all the living world that sees him now 
Shall roll unconscious dust around the sun. 

Campbell. 
Unheeded falls along the flood 
Thy desolate and aged tree. 

Idem. 

January 29th. The land was sighted 
ahead, and in the afternoon we received the 
Pilot on board. The weather was fine and 
quiet, with occasional light airs. The pilot 
told us that the yacht would have to cut 
her way through several feet of mud, and 

VOL. II. B 



every stitch of canvass was crowded on the 
vessel to enable her to dash bravely through, 
when she should arrive at the shallow part 
of the water. We were not long kept in 
anxiety, for though we perceived no change 
in her usual smooth and even course 
through the water, the schooner was slip- 
ping gently and safely through the soft mud. 
At one moment, however, (and that at the 
shallowest spot) she scarcely seemed to 
move, and we began to fancy she was fixed, 
and might remain — as the Yankees say, 
' ' from January to eternity." A few seconds 
put us out of our suspense, for a puff of 
wind suddenly arose, and carried us in safe- 
ty into deep water. 

I have forgotten to mention a lighthouse, 
which we left behind us at the south-west 
pass ; and I must revert to it here, as there 
is rather a singular story attached to it. 



3 



The situation is I think a precarious one, 
at least it has the appearance of being so> 
the lighthouse having been erected on a 
sedgy bank formed by an accumulation of 
mud and snags. These insecure oozy look- 
ing lands extend in all directions about the 
various entrances to the Mississippi, and 
give it the appearance — I have before re- 
marked upon — of unhealthy desolation. 
The lighthouse in question was built by the 
government of the United States, at a consi- 
derable expence, as they were aware of the 
great necessity of such a beacon at the 
mouth of the river. Soon after the work 
was completed, an unexpected claim was 
set up to the land, or rather mud on which 
the lighthouse had been built. The parties, 
who thus inopportunely appeared, founded 
their claim on a title, which was derived 
from some old Spanish grant. This title 



they produced, but at the same time they 
offered to forego their claim for the mode- 
rate sum of, I think, thirty thousand dollars ! 
The cause was tried, and to the great an- 
noyance of the government, it was decided in 
favour of the new claimants, and the former, 
rather than remove their lighthouse, con- 
sented to comply with this exorbitant de- 
mand. The whole affair is a fine specimen 
of Yankee cunning, and shrewd lying in 
wait for the unwary. 

Proudly by the woodland deeps 
Our little gallant schooner sweeps. 
The song of birds is heard above 
Tuning their swelling throats to love ; 
And, with a joyous welcome hailing 
The bark, with such a white wing sailing. 
On poising wings the sea birds float 
And join them with their warning note. 
But heedless, on the vessel glides, 
Stemming the fury of the tides, 
And, like a spirit of the seas 
Riding on the wintry breeze, 



Full many a tall ship, creeping on, 

She passes, 'ere her race is won. 

M. C. H. 

The two months that had elapsed since 
we last visited the Mississippi, had worked 
a great change in the appearance of the 
woods. The trees, which were before clad 
in all the beauty of their autumnal verdure, 
were now bleak, grey, and leafless. It is 
true that, here and there, an ilex, or some 
other evergreen, relieved with its rich hues 
this dismal appearance, but they were but 
rare, and I continually regretted the change 
that had taken place. The long hanging 
moss, that like the grey and venerable beards 
of some aged patriarch, was pendant from 
the trees, showed more conspicuously than 
ever, from the want of leaves, of which it 
now usurps the place. One could not, as be- 
fore, be cheated by the beauty of the decay- 
ing vegetation, into a forgetfulness of the 



deadly insalubrity of the climate and country. 
The morasses were now displayed in all their 
horrors, and one almost shuddered to pass 
such cradles of pestilence and disease. 

The river was much higher than it was 
during our former visit ; the breaking up of 
the frost, and the consequent melting of the 
snow in the northern country, had caused it 
to rise many feet. 

The tide was running three or four knots 
an hour, and it would have required a very 
strong wind in our favour, to enable us to 
make head against it. Unluckily for us not a 
breath of air was blowing, and on this, our 
second day in the river, — after many at- 
tempts to progress, which ended in our mak- 
ing stern way only, we let go the anchor, 
and determined to go on shore. 

The weather was intensely cold, and the 
water used for washing the decks immedi- 



ately froze after being dashed over them. 
A bright sun was shining all the morning, 
and yet the water remained unthawed 
throughout the day. 

We really could not keep ourselves warm 
in the yacht, as the state of the decks en- 
tirely prevented us from taking our usual 
exercise of pacing up and down the vessel, 
and we did not at all relish being confined 
in the cabin, while such a brilliant sun was 
shining over head. An expedition on shore 
was, therefore, agreed upon, and the gig was 
manned. We landed with some little diffi- 
culty, as the banks are at that spot abrupt 
and rather steep, at least I thought them 
so, when I found myself obliged to attempt 
the ascent. 

I soon perceived that I had gained no 
thing in warmth by the change from the 
yacht. Walking I found impossible, the 



8 



ground was so rough, and sitting still was 
freezing work. A happy idea at length 
struck us, viz. that of making a fire on the 
ground under the trees. We set to work 
to collect sticks and dried leaves, and soon 
made a satisfactory heap. This done, we 
endeavoured to produce a light, by rubbing 
together two pieces of dried wood — Indian 
fashion. Do what we would, and strive as 
we might, we could not succeed, and yet 
we naturally felt, that half the romance of 
the situation would be destroyed, by obtain- 
ing a light in any more artificial manner. 
At length, however, we gave up the attempt 
in despair, and were thankful for a lucifer 
match which the doctor happily had in his 
pocket. The fire burnt bravely, rushing 
along the ground over the dead leaves, 
and warming the whole air to a distance of 
at least a hundred yards. I was constantly 



obliged to change my position, as the fierce 
flames approached, and seemed ready to 
lick my feet ; but the warmth was quite de- 
lightful, and I would at any time prefer 
such a wood-fire to Newcastle coal in the 
best and most polished of fire-places. Fol- 
lowing my example, the crew of the gig, 
who had been wandering listlessly about 
the woods, made themselves a fire also, and 
sat round it to warm themselves. 

While I was thus employed Mr. Hous- 
ton amused himself with shooting. There 
was plenty of rabbits, and they were ea- 
sily shot ; they were however not worth 
eating, when cooked. I do not know in 
what respect they differed from English 
rabbits, but they neither looked nor tasted 
the same. Numbers of beautiful birds were 
flying, and sporting about ; their bright 
plumage being seen to great advantage 

B II. 



10 



on the leafless boughs. I thought it grie- 
vous to shoot them, and when they brought 
me cardinals, blue-birds, and bright coloured 
woodpeckers, I felt how much rather I would 
have seen them glancing about in the bright 
light, and sunning themselves in the warmth 
of heaven. They were now stretched life- 
less and stiff upon the earth, those poor 
woodland forest minstrels ! never more to 
sing their joyous songs, or flit about the 
dancing leaves ! 

But how still and sombre that primeval 
forest seemed! Not a sound broke upon 
the ear, except when the report of the gun 
reverberated through the woods, and startled 
the slumbering echoes from their long re- 
pose. 

" Yet wanted not the eye far scope to muse, 
Nor vistas opened by the wandering stream." 

Here and there were blackened stumps, show- 



11 



ing that the devastating hand of man had 
been busy there, and had lain low the state- 
ly trees which had grown in that vast forest 
for centuries. Around the prostrate forms of 
the dead giants clung the sad passion flower, 
and the twining creeper, as though loath to 
part with the faithful pillar that had been 
their support in life. The whole surface of 
the ground was so thickly covered with 
dried leaves, that it was difficult to make 
any discovery of the descriptions of plants 
or herbs, which vegetate under the trees. 
The monotonous brown of the earth's cover- 
ing was, however, varied by frequent tufts 
of the fan-plant ; as it is here called. This 
graceful plant shoots up its broad fan-like 
leaves, of the most vivid green, and its pe- 
culiar shape and hue are calculated to give 
an appearance of tropical vegetation to the 
scenery. 



12 

We had been informed that wild boar and 
deer, were to be found in the forests in consi- 
derable numbers ; however we were not for- 
tunate enough to see any thing of them, and 
I confess myself rather incredulous as to the 
fact of their existence in these woods. 

My fire had, after the lapse of a couple 
of hours, burnt low, and we made pre- 
parations for going on board. On our re- 
turn to the gig, we perceived the men 
very busily engaged ; so much so, that we 
came upon them unseen. They had found 
a small snake, which the warmth of their 
fire had probably roused from its torpid 
state, and they were endeavouring to make 
sure of their prisoner. To effect this, they 
were trying to tie a piece of rope-yarn 
round the creature's body. The snake 
having, as one of the sailors expressed it, 
" hove off his tail," in the course of his 



13 



capture, this circumstance considerably in- 
creased the difficulty of the attempt. Having 
with great care adjusted the yarn to his satis- 
faction, the man whose prize it was, deposited 
the reptile in the crown of his hat. Happily 
for the poor man, we returned in time to 
prevent the consequences of his imprudence. 
The snake was one of a most venomous spe- 
cies, and we immediately turned the tide of his 
sufferings by ordering him to be destroyed. 
All night we lay at anchor, and the 
yacht ran no little risk of injury from the 
vast number of logs and trees, which were 
floating down the river. Owing to the unu- 
sually high floods and tides, the stream was 
at times almost covered by these disagree- 
able hindrances to our progress. Trees of 
forest growth and stature, uprooted in their 
strength, came upon us with resistless 
force, and it required constant care to pre 



14 



vent collision, when we were under weigh. 
A look-out man was always stationed "for- 
ward/' to watch their coming, and to direct 
the helmsman how to steer. These moving 
timbers were, however, not so dangerous as 
the snags, namely, trees, or parts of them, 
that have a strong hold on the bottom. 

Thus sped our time, and a long and ra- 
ther weary four days it was before we ar- 
rived at the city. The night before we 
reached it the yacht underwent a signal 
misfortune, which certainly occasioned 
some variety, though of not a particularly 
agreeable nature. It was the night of the 
1st of February, dark, and still, and foggy. 
A small steamer coming up to the city, 
hailed us several times, to know if we 
wanted steam, her commander no doubt 
conjecturing that we were at anchor, in 
despair of making further way. The look- 



15 



out man on deck answered, " No/' several 
times ; upon which the steamer, (as we 
suppose, out of envy, malice, and hatred) 
ran on board of us, and did us all the mis- 
chief in her power. Our fore-topmast was 
carried away, as well as the larboard whis- 
ker ; and part of the bulwarks on the lar- 
board bow was stove in. The next morn- 
ing all hands were employed in clearing 
away the wreck, which having been done, 
we made sail, somewhat shorn of our fair 
proportions. 

At one o'clock we arrived again at New 
Orleans, and lost no time in sending on 
shore for our much wished for letters. 
One of Mr. Houston's first occupations was 
to find out the name of the vessel, which 
had so signally insulted us, and to demand 
satisfaction. The steamer proved to be the 
" Swan," a tug, and her owners found 



16 



themselves obliged to make good all the 
damage we had received. 

The appearance of the city was now much 
more gay and cheerful than it had been du- 
ring our former visit. The carnival had be- 
gun, and masks were visible in the windows 
of the stores. The walls were covered with 
announcements of forthcoming balls, both 
in the French and English languages. 
Plays were in great vogue ; and the Parisian 
taste for horrors was also prevalent here, "La 
Mansarde de Cii?ne" and such like myste- 
rious tragedies, I saw announced for con- 
stant repetition. The streets were much 
dryer, and the shops — I beg their pardon, 
the stores, — were more conspicuously and 
tastefully arranged than in the winter. 
The spring fashions had already made 
their appearance ; and ladies, gaily dressed 
in every colour of the rainbow, — beginning 



17 

with the parasol, and ending with the 
shoes, — were promenading the streets in all 
directions. Indeed, it seemed that in pro- 
portion as business, owing to the season 
of the year, had declined, pleasure had 
risen fifty per cent. There are but two 
drives in the neighbourhood of New Or- 
leans — the old and new " Shell Roads." 
These roads are raised by artificial means 
several feet above the morass, which almost 
surrounds the city. They are formed upon 
piles, and are thickly covered, as their name 
implies, with small sea shells. From this 
road, you look down on a swamp on one 
side, and a canal on the other. Both roads, 
in the hot season, are described as literally 
swarming with alligators and musquitoes. 
Happily for us, the time of the year for 
these creatures had not yet arrived. Du- 
ring our stay, I saw but one young alliga- 



18 



tor, and the musquitoes were not yet 
brought into light and mischief. Though 
still, in what we in England call the depth 
of winter, the vegetation was as forward as 
it often is in an English May. The tender 
green of the beach was every where visible, 
and the buds of the hawthorn were almost 
visibly bursting forth under the influence of 
the warm sunshine. Wild flowers, such as 
prefer moist and watery places, were begin- 
ning to show their blossoms ; and among 
them I noticed several descriptions of briar, 
which were very pretty. Birds were wel- 
coming the spring with their small twit- 
tering notes, but cheerful as their voices 
sounded in the still air, we missed the full 
chorus of our English woodland vocalists. 
No nightingale 

" Winds up his long, long shakes of ecstacy," 

and no skylark 



19 



" Pilgrim of the sky" 

carolled forth his welcome to the opening 
year. I missed almost all my old favou- 
rites ; and was only consoled in their ab- 
sence by the sound of the cuckoo's 

" Twin notes inseparably paired." 

His erratic voice was still faithful to the 
spring ! 

One of the shell roads leads to the Lake 
of Pontchartrain. This lake is of salt water, 
and its shores are low and flat. There is a 
sort of village on its banks, which is consi- 
dered and used as a watering place ; and 
though not more than six miles distant, 
may be called the Brighton of New Or- 
leans. Many of the opulent merchants 
have built villas at Portchartrain, and du- 
ring the summer months, when business is 
at a stand-still, they migrate to the shores 
of the lake, and refresh themselves by ba- 



20 



thing in its salt waters. New Orleans is 
thus almost deserted by the rich inhabi- 
tants during the hot and unhealthy season. 
It is on Sundays that the Shell Road ought 
to be visited ; it is then crowded with plea- 
sure-taking citizens; not a carriage is left 
in the streets unhired ; and by far the 
greatest number are rilled with negroes. It 
is quite delightful to see how thoroughly 
they enjoy themselves. Their happy laugh- 
ing faces are shining out at the open win- 
dows, and each carriage is packed as full as 
it can hold. The slaves are seen grinning, 
and chattering incessantly, and with a viva- 
city and excitement unknown to those, of 
whom Sundays brings not the happy vari- 
ety of freedom. Another employment of 
the slaves, on a Sunday, is the bringing in, 
on their own account, large supplies of the 
Spanish moss from the country. They 



21 

collect it from the tall trees in the neigh- 
bourhood, and it well repays them for the 
trouble. It is principally used in making 
beds, and enough for such a purpose may 
be collected in a few minutes; it requires 
but little preparation, and the beds thus 
made are remarkably comfortable. I have 
so often described this moss, {Tillandsia 
Usneodes) that I need not say much more 
about it. In the neighbourhood of New 
Orleans it appeared to me particularly 
thick and long, growing frequently to the 
length of three or four feet, and almost 
hiding its parent tree. The effect of set- 
ting a dead tree on fire, with its clothing of 
dried moss, is very curious. We tried the 
experiment once, and the appearance of 
the flames on the rapidly ignited moss, was 
beautiful. During one of these Sunday 
drives, I first saw and admired the asto- 



22 



rushing pace of the trotting horses in Ame- 
rica. The Shell Road is remarkably well 
adapted for showing off their powers, being 
perfectly flat, and smooth. The carriage 
used is as light as possible, and looks as if a 
much less weight than that of a man would 
break it down. The horse I saw was said 
to be "a considerable fair traveller, with 
most particular good bottom." I should, I 
am afraid, be suspected of an Americanism, 
did I venture to assert how fast he went ; 
but the pace struck me with wonder. He 
passed at a trot, like a flash of lightning ; 
and it was a fair trot, not a run, or any 
thing like it. The best and fastest trotter 
was a Canadian horse. These are gene- 
rally of a small size, and I fear much cru- 
elty is used to break them into trotting in 
this astonishing manner. 



CHAPTER II. 



FLORIDA INDIANS. THEIR HABITS. PARTY OF PRISO- 
NERS. THE CHIEF, "TIGER-TAIL." 



I travelled among- unknown men, 
In lands beyond the sea. 

Wordsworth. 

And by my side, in battle true, 

A thousand warriors drew the shaft. 

****** 

I may not stain with grief, 
The death song of an Indian Chief ! 

Campbell. 

I had expected to find every sort of Indian 
fancy work in plenty at New Orleans, 
but I was disappointed. There was but 
little in the stores, and the prices asked 
were quite unconscionable. For a small 
hunting pouch, worked with beads, and 
that not very curiously, the demand 



24 



was fifty-two dollars ; nearly fourteen 
pounds ! We often met Indians, both men 
and women, wandering about the streets : 
they were scantily clothed, with an old blan- 
ket wrapped about them for their only co- 
vering. They were often in a state of in- 
toxication, (with their long shining black 
hair falling over their faces) and shivering 
with cold. The time at which they were 
most frequently to be seen, was early in the 
morning, and they generally attended the 
markets. 

During our stay at New Orleans a party 
of Florida Indians were brought in as 
prisoners, with their squaws and children. 
These Indians have for a long time occasi- 
oned great annoyance, and trouble to the 
government of the United States. They 
are naturally fond of war, and, although 
greatly reduced in numbers, are constantly 



25 



engaged in hostile insurrections. Who can 
wonder at the efforts made by these poor, 
and suffering people to regain possession of 
their country. Swampy, and unwholesome 
as that country is, still it was their own, and 
the Indian tribes are never the first to forget 
their fatherland. 

Some parts of Florida are productive and 
healthy, but by far the larger portion is wet, 
and marshy, well calculated certainly for 
the produce, and increase of snakes, frogs, 
alligators, gnats, and musquitoes, but not 
an enviable residence for human beings. In 
common with the swamps in the neighbour- 
hood of New Orleans, cedar and cypress 
grow in the Florida marshes to a prodigious 
size, as also the live oak, and it is in these 
swampy forests that the slender remains of 
the once powerful tribes retreat for shelter 
from their enemies. That the whole race 

VOL. II. c 



26 



of Indians on this continent must hate the 
whites, with a bitter hatred, no one can 
doubt. On every occasion they have bro- 
ken faith with them, and have made them- 
selves lords of the soil, by stealing their 
birth-right from the original inhabitants. 
Gradually, but surely, have the aboriginal 
Indians disappeared from the face of the 
world, driven out by the progress of civiliza- 
tion. It is not that by inter-marriages, and 
other causes, the generation of red men 
becomes insensibly mingled with the whites, 
but that by some inevitable decree of provi- 
dence they dwindle away, and are lost to 
the world for ever. All these things are 
wonderful, and past finding out. 

The Florida Indians are passionately ad- 
dicted to hunting, and by this means they 
provide themselves and their families with 
food. Deer, bear, and wolfs' skins, besides 



27 

bees wax and venison, are articles they sell 
to strangers. They traffic also in squirrels' 
skins, which are beautiful and very valuable ; 
in short could the Florida Indians overcome 
their longing to be free, they might live in 
comfort enough. Those we saw at New 
Orleans, amounted in number to about two 
hundred, and they were constantly being 
augmented by fresh captures. 

The poor creatures were kept in the bar- 
racks, which are situated about three miles 
from the city on the banks of the river. 
They were allowed the free range of the 
barrack yard, but limited enough must 
such a liberty have appeared to them, ac- 
customed to the free air of their native 
woods. We paid them several visits after 
their arrival, and the sight interested me 
extremely. They were most of them fine 
athletic looking men, muscular, and well 



28 



proportioned. I should say that they more 
resembled the Gypsies we are in the habit 
of seeing in Europe, than any other people. 
Their complexion is of the same dark hue, 
and their hair long, straight, and shining. 
Some of the warriors were still in their 
paint; a hideous conbination of colours 
which covered their bodies ; red being the 
most prevailing tint. The squaws were not 
remarkable for their personal charms ; I 
saw but one who could be pronounced, in 
the least degree, pretty. She was very 
young, almost a child in appearance, and 
bore her infant on her back ; she was nest- 
ling at the feet of a young and fine looking 
warrior, the son, I was told, of a great chief. 
Occasionally she raised her dark expressive 
eyes to his face, not presuming to address 
him ; but watching his movements, and an- 
ticipating his wishes, with the patience and 



29 



submission peculiar to the Indian wife. The 
rest of the women were employed in various 
ways. They were evidently considered as 
infinitely inferior to their lords in the scale 
of humanity, and all the menial offices 
were left to them to perform. Their 
mode of bruizing the Indian corn, which 
forms their principal article of food, is by 
beating the grain in a large wooden trough, 
with heavy pieces of wood. It must have 
been very hard labour, yet the squaws per- 
formed it without receiving the slightest 
assistance from the men, who, I have no 
doubt, would have felt themselves degraded, 
had they lent a hand to the work. Others 
of these hard working females were boiling 
potatoes for the daily meal, and one and all 
bore upon their backs a little patient infant. 
The poor little creatures were tightly swath- 
ed, like diminutive mummies, and had no 



30 



power to move any part of their persons, 
excepting their large round eyes, which kept 
staring about in restless activity. There 
were a number of children of all ages and 
sizes playing about, and most of them were 
pretty and interesting. 

I was very much struck by the extreme 
gravity and silence preserved by the whole 
party, men and women. Even in their 
amusements, the same dignified composure 
was visible. We often found the young 
men playing at a game, which greatly resem- 
bled the old English sport called " Hockey." 
They displayed much skill and activity at 
this exercise : the old men in the mean- 
time looking gravely on. Some of the 
warriors were stretched on the ground 
wrapped in their blankets, while others 
were leaning, with folded arms, against the 
walls. 



31 



Among the prisoners was a great chief 
and warrior. His name was " Tiger Tail," 
and it was one that had often spread terror 
and dismay amongst his enemies. The 
chief was now old, his strength was on the 
decline, and he was patiently waiting the 
summons of the Great Spirit, to enjoy the 
reward of a brave warrior, in the happy 
hunting grounds of the blest. But once 
more, however, the war whoop had sounded 
in his ears, and scenting the battle afar off, 
the aged chief prepared to tread his last war 
path, with the young warriors of his tribe. 
Gallantly they fought, but the Maniton had 
turned away his face from his children, and 
after a fierce struggle they bent their heads 
beneath his displeasure ; and were led away 
captive. During this last engagement " Ti- 
ger Tail" was severely wounded, and from 
the nature of the hurt, his sufferings must 



32 



have been very great. Notwithstanding 
this he refused every offer of surgical assist- 
ance, and with true Indian stoicism, looked 
as composed, and as mentally unsubdued, 
as though he were seated at the council fire 
of his tribe. 

The skill and bravery of Tiger Tail had 
on former occasions caused considerable loss 
to the American troops, and his capture was 
a source of peculiar congratulation to them. 
During their march in the winter season, 
through the vast forests of Florida, they 
had been unavoidably subjected to much 
hardship ; and the children in particular 
must have greatly suffered. I was told (by 
means of an interpreter) that one poor little 
fellow, a boy not five years old, had been 
lost in the forest on their march. Three 
months elapsed before he was found. Dur- 
ing all that time he had been alone, and 



33 



had existed literally upon fruits and wild 
honey. He was a remarkably intelligent 
looking child, as indeed they all were : 
when he was discovered in the forest, the 
boy was in very good preservation, and 
seemed likely to remain so. A plump 
merry looking little urchin he was, and 
there was that in his eye that would have 
made a warrior in the palmy days of Indian 
power. 

The prisoners were remarkably well fed 
and cared for, and on the whole did not look 
unhappy. They were occasionally allowed 
the indulgence of performing their national 
war dance, and this was done invariably at 
night. The scene was lighted up hy torches, 
which they brandished in their hands. The 
stamping movement of their feet was ac- 
companied at intervals by the most discord- 
ant whoops, and the whole ballet, though 
c II. 



34 



extremely curious, was anything but a grace- 
ful exhibition. 

The first time we appeared amongst 
them, the Indians exhibited no marked 
signs of wonder. They looked at us ask- 
ance, and rather suspiciously, but once, 
only, did I see them roused to anything 
like animation. The object of their curi- 
osity was my sable boa, and I shall not 
easily forget the silent wonder with which 
some of the grave old hunters regarded it. 
One of them, without any ceremony, took it 
away from me, in order to examine it more 
closely ; a little circle was then formed, and 
they deliberated upon its nature, and origin. 
The prevalent opinion certainly was, that it 
was the full length tail of some animal ; a 
creature to them unknown, on whom Nature 
had bestowed a " fly disperser" of unusual 
length and beauty. After looking at it for 



35 

a long time, one of them endeavoured to 
fasten it on the back of a brother hunter, 
who stood near : having done this, he pro- 
ceeded to curl it up in order to make it 
look as natural as possible. The joke was 
hailed by the rest with a momentary laugh, 
but in another second their countenances 
were as still, and as impassive as before. I 
had no idea that they could be half so fa- 
cetious. 

We generally distributed some small coins 
amongst them ; money, however, they ap- 
peared to set but little value on. A much 
more acceptable present, I have no doubt, 
would have been some whiskey or rum. 
In common with all savage tribes, they were 
passionately fond of ardent spirits, not the 
least among the evils for which they have 
to thank their civilized successors. 

I believe that it is the intention of the 



36 



government to send the prisoners to St. 
Louis, with the object of settling them in 
the Western Prairies. 



CHAPTER III. 



PUBLIC CARRIAGES. NEGRO SLAVES. THEIR HABITS 
AND CUSTOMS. ABSENCE OF RELIGIOUS FEELINGS AND 
OBSERVANCE AT NEW ORLEANS. FAVOURITE SPORTS. 
STOPPAGE OF A BANK. AMERICAN CRIMPS. METHO- 
DICAL HABITS OF THE CITIZENS, COMMERCE OF 
NEW ORLEANS. 



Ye men of prostrate mind ! 

****** 

Shame on you, feeble heads to slavery prone ! 

Wordsworth. 

There is a rail-road from New Orleans to 
Pontchartrain ; rather an indifferent one cer- 
tainly, for the carriages are none of them 
superior to our " second class " vehicles, 
while there is not even the satisfaction of 
going quickly over the ground. 

The carriages which stand in the streets 
for hire, are, as I before remarked, particu- 



38 



larly good and comfortable. They are usual- 
ly driven by slaves, and at a very good pace. 
We employed the same carriage and driver 
nearly every day during our stay. The for- 
mer was a species of caUche, and the ne- 
gro, who performed the office of charioteer, 
was the most communicative individual I 
ever saw. He was a very merry fellow, 
black as jet, and as shining as a plentiful 
supply of cocoa-nut oil could make him. 
His pockets were always full of nuts of 
various kinds, which he cracked and ate dur- 
ing the short pauses in his conversation. 
He often talked to us on the " Slavery ques- 
tion," told us how much money he had the 
opportunities of earning on his own account, 
and begged to assure us that it would by no 
means answer to him to be free. The re- 
collection of this man, induces me to say a 
few words upon the apparently happy life 



39 



led by this much pitied race at New Orleans. 
Among the list of grievances, I have heard 
it asserted that they are kept strictly apart 
from their " white brethren," and are evi- 
dently considered, by this marked separa- 
tion, as a degraded and inferior race. This at 
New Orleans is certainly not the case. I 
was constantly in the habit of seeing well 
dressed American children, evidently the 
offspring of respectable parents, playing 
with little piccaninies, as black and as curly 
headed as little niggers could well be. A 
perfect system of equality apparently existed 
among them, and in the course of their 
merry games, the laugh of the black child 
was as clear and ringing as that of his white 
play-fellow. 

During our drives through the streets 
especially on Sundays, the display of negro 
finery, and taste was very remarkable. If 



40 

we happened to overtake a particularly well 
dressed individual with a Parisian coat, a 
glossy hat, and well varnished boots, we 
were sure to be surprised by seeing a black 
face appended to these advantages. I saw 
such persecuted negro slaves frequently ; 
they appeared to have no other occupation 
than that of flourishing about their gold 
headed canes, and fixing a glass in their 
eye. Gloves (which are an unusual sight 
at New Orleans) they generally indulged in, 
and with one hand gracefully placed in the 
coat pocket, looked worthy — behind — of 
figuring in the Tuilleries, or St. James's 
Street. No one pays higher for his outfit 
than the negro in the Slave States. He 
gives his money too, so carelessly, and with 
such an independent air. I have heard of 
their giving eighty dollars for a suit of 
clothes, and their industry, and efforts to 




NEW ORLEANS BLACK DANDY, 



41 



procure money, are highly praiseworthy. 
They are in the habit of giving their 
masters a certain sum of money^ (gene- 
rally I believe about two dollars a day) 
in lieu of their services. Their time, then, 
is their own, and they are at liberty to 
make as much more out of it as they 
can. From what I saw and heard, I am 
inclined to think that many of the do- 
mestic slaves would not accept their liberty 
were it offered to them. There is scarcely 
any spectacle more affecting in idea than 
that of a human being being made a matter 
of barter. I went to America strongly pre- 
judiced against this unnatural traffic, and 
prepared to view every instance of it with 
horror, and every slave with compassion and 
sympathy. I became, however, after a short 
time, somewhat moderated in my opin- 
ions ; and though still regarding the slave 



42 



trade generally, in the same light, I began 
to think that the slaves themselves were not 
quite so much to be pitied as I had ima- 
gined. The first time I saw a slave sold I 
was affected almost to tears, but after con- 
templating their cheerful, happy faces, and 
seeing how well and kindly they were gene- 
rally treated, I learned to view the scene 
with different feelings. A slave sale is in 
some respects a laughable sight enough. 
The American auctioneer is not to be out- 
done by that prince of auctioneers, George 
Robins himself, in the exercise of his voca- 
tion. I once saw a very small " lot " put 
up ; it was a poor looking creature about 
four feet high, and appeared certainly not 
much accustomed to stand in high places : 
he stood up, however, boldly enough, by the 
side of the auctioneer, dressed in the smart 
clothes kept for the especial purpose of 



43 



making the poor fellows look their best. 
The Auctioneer began, " This fine young 
man, gentlemen, is warranted to be only 
twenty years of age ; sound in wind and 
limb — he has an excellent character, and 
a good temper. Moreover, gentlemen, he 
w r as born in the State of Mississippi, and 
is warranted to be a first rate field hand, 
and a terrible good cotton picker. It 'ud 
be a privilege to have him, gentlemen." All 
this time the object of such eloquent praise 
stood on the elevated platform, and instead 
of (as one would imagine) looking distressed 
and unhappy, seemed only rather bewilder- 
ed, and grinned throughout the ceremony 
from ear to ear. 

There certainly is a great absence of re- 
ligious feeling and observance in this city. 
This may be attributed, in some measure, 
to the admixture of the Catholic and Pro- 



44 

testant faith, professed by its various in- 
habitants. There is, however, I imagine, 
a deeper cause for the want of religion ob- 
servable here. There is no religion having 
authority, and thus in democratic countries, 
and particularly among a hard-headed, and 
unimaginative people, like the Americans, 
devotional feeling becomes weakened and 
extinguished, when the outward observance 
of the rites and ceremonies of religion is in 
no degree a part of the government of the 
country. The subject altogether is too im- 
portant, and involves too much learned dis- 
quisition for me to venture to touch upon 
it. I can only repeat the broad fact, that 
religion is treated with no respect at New 
Orleans. I have before remarked, that 
Sunday is their great day of amusement. 
This, however, alone would not establish 
the fact of their negligence in religious mat- 



45 

ters. We do the same unfortunately in 
England, and in almost all parts of the Eu- 
ropean Continent, and should not be the 
first, therefore, to throw the stone. But 
the ceremonies of religion, church going, 
&c., are not thought of here ; they scarcely 
even think it necessary to profess a faith. 
This subject is one under frequent discus- 
sion between the wise men of the Northern 
and Southern States ; and numerous argu- 
ments arise in consequence. The former 
asserts, that in the north it is absolutely ne- 
cessary to the character of an individual, 
that he should be nominally a member of 
some religious persuasion or other. Be 
it Catholic or Protestant, Shaker or Qua- 
ker, follower of Johanna Southcote, or 
an Anabaptist, it did not much signify ; 
but one or other he must choose. He 
must, they say, be something ; where- 



46 



as at New Orleans " Nobody is any- 
thing." 

The favourite sport on Sunday is that 
of rifle-shooting. Thousands flock to the 
ground where the performance takes place, 
and great is the emulation excited among 
the aspirants for fame. The mark is a 
turkey, which is fastened to the flattened 
stump of a tree, and the distance from it to 
the marksman is about seventy yards. The 
turkies used for this purpose are brought 
down the Mississippi, by dozens, in flat 
bottomed boats. The American sportsmen 
failed in impressing us with a high opinion 
of their skill as rifle shots. They talk a 
great deal about it ; but that, we all know, 
is no proof of superiority. One of the New 
Orleans Society, who enjoyed the reputa- 
tion of being one of the best shots in the 
United States, shewed us a perforated tar- 



47 

get, of which he appeared extremely proud. 
He had laid a wager, that at the distance of 
seventy yards he would put half a dozen 
balls into a target; a wafer was placed in 
the centre, and none of the balls were to 
enter at a greater distance than five inches 
from the wafer. He had come off victo- 
rious in the match, and the target was laid 
up among his family relics, as a precious 
and honourable trophy of his skill. We 
remarked, previous to the wager being ex- 
plained to us, that the balls were rather 
wide of the centre, but his amour propre 
was too great to receive a check easily ; — ■ 
and he it was who boasted that he could 
"pick off" a man at the distance of a 
thousand yards across the Mississippi. 

A fearful tragedy was acted shortly be- 
fore our departure from New Orleans. A 
large bank stopped payment, and the an- 



48 



nouncement was attended by an excitement 
among the inhabitants almost unequalled. 
Men were seen rushing about through the 
streets, some with bags of dollars on their 
shoulders, and all with dismay plainly 
marked on their countenances. During the 
course of the day, the various banks in 
the city were emptied of their cash, but 
it was not till the following morning that 
we learnt the most painful part of the 
story, namely, that the president of the 
bank, a man much considered and re- 
spected in New Orleans, had committed 
suicide. He left his house the day that 
the bank broke, and twenty-four hours 
after was found dead in the Yellow Fever 
Burial Ground, having stabbed himself 
through the body. This sad instance of ir- 
religion, and moral cowardice, was the more 
deplorable, as the unhappy man had the 



49 



misfortune to possess a wife and a large fa- 
mily of children. 

We were told that it was necessary to 
keep a constant watch over sailors, when in 
the harbour of New Orleans, as they are 
frequently in the habit of escaping. It was 
now becoming late in the business season ; 
a great number of the ships had sailed ; and 
many of those still remaining found great 
difficulty in procuring seamen for the 
voyage home. On hearing this, Mr. Hous- 
ton took an early opportunity of informing 
the crew of the Dolphin, that he had no 
desire of retaining any man in the vessel 
against his will; and that if any of the 
" ship's company" felt disposed to go, they 
had better take their departure at once, 
and openly, instead of skulking off at the 
last moment, and leaving us without suffi- 
cient hands to work the ship. 

VOL II. D 



50 



Thus prepared, we " lay upon our oars," 
and awaited the result. There is a tho- 
roughly organized system here for entrap- 
ping English sailors, who are highly valued, 
both as merchant and men-of-war's-men. 
I may here recommend the latter to read 
Mr. Dana s work, " Two Years before the 
Mast." The Americans are incessantly 
endeavouring to entice the men from the 
various ships to which they belong. The 
pay they offer is enormously high ; thirty 
dollars (six pounds a month) have been 
frequently given, and it may be imagined 
that very few sailors are proof against such 
high bribery as this. 

Merchant ships at New Orleans gene- 
rally have their cargo stowed by contrac- 
tors, who are experienced in the business, 
and who employ blacks and Irishmen for 
the purpose : the affair being arranged in 



51 



this manner, it becomes almost a desidera- 
tum with the captains of merchant-vessels 
to get rid of their hands as soon as possible. 
They are thus spared the trouble and ex- 
pense of keeping them during the six weeks 
or two months that their ships remain in 
the harbour. When a vessel is ready to 
sail, the captain has recourse to what is 
called a crimp, of which there are plenty, 
and this individual undertakes to man the 
ship. At two or three o'clock on the morn- 
ing of departure, the captain goes into the 
forecastle, counts over the number of heads 
attached to so many drunken bodies, and 
finding the number stipulated for, he pays 
the agent the promised reward, and goes 
off as soon as he can. 

The ship is, of course, immediately taken 
in tow by a steam tug, and she is perhaps 
well out of the river before her heteroge- 



52 



neous crew are roused from their deep sleep 
of intoxication. One can fancy the absur- 
dity of the waking scene. Each man, 
having been, probably, in a state of perfect 
unconsciousness when taken on board, 
finds a difficulty in comprehending his si- 
tuation. The man, used to sailing in a 
little schooner, with perhaps but two hands 
on board, finds himself in a large ship, on 
the deep sea, with fifty strange faces 
around him. The fresh- water sailor, who 
has been for years on board the Mississippi 
steam-boats, and has become so used to the 
loud voices of their high-pressure engines, 
that he can hardly sleep without their lul- 
laby, awakes — feels himself bounding on 
in silence, and cannot understand how he 
can be moving on without noise, smoke, or 
jerking. In like manner, the fisherman, 
who had never contemplated the possibility 



53 



of his leaving his native river, awakes in a 
liner bound for Liverpool, and in bewil- 
dered astonishment gazes on the stupid 
countenances of his companions in misfor- 
tune. It is no uncommon thing for lands- 
men to pass themselves off as sailors, in 
order to gain the tempting wages offered to 
them. On one occasion, the doctor was 
witness to an amusing scene, in which 
these soi disant able bodied seamen were 
actors. They were going through a re- 
gular course of practice, to enable them to 
pass muster, and to prevent the immediate 
discovery of their trickery. 

No attempts were made to prevent our 
men from coming in contact with bribery 
and corruption. Here, as in every other port 
that we visited during our cruize, they had 
permission to go on shore whenever they 
asked for it — half of their number were al- 



54 



ways away from the yacht; and it rarely 
happened that they broke their "leave." 
One day, however, to our great surprise, 
for we had seen no previous marks of disaf- 
fection, or desire for change, we were 
greeted by the unwelcome intelligence that 
two of our men were missing, and it was 
supposed had gone over to the Americans. 
They had escaped during the night, in si- 
lence, and without any witness, as far as 
we could prove. The look-out man de- 
clared that he had not seen them take their 
departure, but we could not believe him ; 
he felt, however, that he could not have 
betrayed his messmates, and we did not 
press for his confidence. 

The two deserters were the only married 
men on board, and I suppose were anxious 
to return to their domestic comforts, as 
we afterwards learnt that they had taken 



55 



service in a merchant brig bound for Eng- 
land. Subsequently to this period, we con- 
tinually noticed well dressed men, who were 
evidently " crimps," endeavouring to invei- 
gle and entice away the men who formed 
the crew of the gig. Directly these men 
perceived us approaching, they hurried away 
with every mark of confusion. 

Had Mr. Houston thought proper to 
follow the example set him, we might soon 
have found substitutes, by resorting to the 
same dishonourable means which were em- 
ployed in our own case. As it was, how- 
ever, we were not long delayed by a defi- 
ciency of hands. The service of an English 
yacht is sure to be a popular one, and the 
new men were pronounced active, and 
sharp : they were both Englishmen, and 
had lately served in a man-of-war. 

I should say, speaking of the Americans 



56 



in the daily habits of their lives, that they 
are a particularly methodical people. The 
same thing is almost invariably done at 
the same hour, let it be " liquoring," eating 
soup,* going over 'Change, or entering the 
gambling-houses, of which, be it remem- 
bered, there are many. For a somewhat 
cold blooded people, it is marvellous to me 
how fond the Americans are of this species 
of excitement. It exists in all shapes ; and 
their horse races are attended more regu- 
larly and more energetically even than our 
own ; the betting, too, on these occasions, 
is most spirited. 

Another of the remarkable points in the 
character of the New Orleans citizen, is, as 
I was informed, his fondness for duelling. 
The nearness of their birthplace to the 

* There are regular soup houses here. Their soups 
principally consist of oyster and gombo, the latter a root 
peculiar to the country, and collected by the Indians. 



57 



Equator, may possibly account both for 
this and for their gambling propensities ; 
the hot blood of the south having cer- 
tainly a little to do with these peculiar 
vices. I have heard it affirmed that duels 
take place most frequently in the hot 
season. At this period they are said to 
become irascible, and to be easily excited, 
and it is just as well for peaceable men 
to keep out of their way. In the win- 
ter, on the contrary, they become quiet 
and phlegmatic ; the cold air chills their 
blood, and they at once cease to be dan- 
gerous. 

I will give one proof of the extremely 
methodical habits of the New Orleans citi- 
zens, and of the adroit manner in which cer- 
tain matters are managed here. The Post 
Office is a large building, in the centre of 
which there is a bar, or " liquoring-hall." A 

D II. 



58 



clock of conspicuous appearance also deco- 
rates the entrance. The merchants, &c. 
are in the daily habit of calling for their 
letters at the Post Office, there being no 
delivery in any other manner. The man 
who kept the bar — and a cunning man he 
must have been — remarked, that at a cer- 
tain hour all the merchants, after securing 
their despatches, went off to another house 
to liquor. He took great pains to ascertain 
the exact hour at which this ceremony 
took place ; and having done so, made his 
arrangements accordingly. It appeared, 
that before going " on 'Change," the mer- 
chants, as though actuated by one simulta- 
neous motive, took their morning " liquor" 
precisely at half-past ten. The hands of 
the Post Office clock pointed at a quarter- 
past ten when the letters were delivered ; 
and the men of business immediately hur- 



59 



ried off to take their invigorating draught. 
Our friend at the Post Office, craftily and 
in secret, contrived daily to move on the 
hands of his clock some ten minutes. The 
merchants looked up. " What ! As I'm 
alive, it's half-past ten a'most ; its infarnal 
late ; I actilly must take my liquor here to- 
day, Sir." And so they all did. And after 
a time, it became a confirmed habit to take 
their early dram at the bar of the Post 
Office. He was a very smart man that gin 
sling, and sherry cobler seller. 

I believe that the "liquoring" hour often 
tells the New Orleans citizen what o'clock 
it is, so regular is the habit, and so indis- 
pensable is it to his comfort. 

It is impossible not to reflect with admi- 
ration, when one walks through the streets 
of New Orleans, on the immense distance 
to which goods are conveyed by the people 



60 

who purchase them. Every fifth store is a 
hatter's, and to judge from the flourishing 
state of this branch of trade, " awful good'* 
hats must be in great demand. Numbers 
are sent to the Yankees, in the Far West, 
and as the dress in those distant settle- 
ments is very savage and primitive, the 
effect of a very large shining hat on the 
head of one of these skin-clad settlers, 
must be very charming. Another remark I 
made at New Orleans, connected with a 
much more important branch of trade, may 
not be uninteresting. At New Orleans, I 
saw a gown of printed cotton, which had 
been purchased at one of the stores ; the 
pattern was pretty, the price very mode- 
rate, and the colours indelible. The cheap- 
ness of the cotton I thought so remarkable, 
that I was induced to ask " whence it 
came V The reply was, that it was of 



61 



American manufacture. And so it was — 
and even I — unskilled as I am in commer- 
cial matters, was struck by the possible 
consequences of the perfection to which 
the Americans have brought their manufac- 
tures. I had never thought much on the 
subject, but I had always supposed that all 
kinds of cotton and woollen goods, besides 
iron ware, were imported into America from 
England. To my great surprise, however, I 
found that nearly every thing of this kind 
that we saw was of native manufacture, and 
that the prices of them were no higher 
than in England. It is a positive fact, and 
certainly an important one, that in the year 
1826, one hundred and fifty millions of 
yards of calico were imported into the 
United States ; and that last year the quan- 
tity was reduced to fifteen millions! It 
appears to me that America has, thus far, 



62 



derived benefit from her almost restrictive 
tariff; for she is now, as far as regards the 
manufacture of cotton, woollen, and iron 
goods, independent of other countries. The 
manufacturing of these articles is so profita- 
ble a business, that several English compa- 
nies are establishing factories, &c. in va- 
rious parts of America. When the Yan- 
kee spirit of enterprise and go-a-headzsm is 
taken into consideration, it may fairly be 
conjectured that, at no distant period, they 
will become formidable rivals to Great Bri- 
tain, and will greatly interfere with her ex- 
clusive privilege of supplying the world with 
the articles above mentioned. 

I had laid in a stock of new books for 
the voyage, for at no place can a tempo- 
rary library be procured at a less outlay 
than in the United States. Bulwer's novel 
of the " Last of the Barons/' was sold at 



63 



two bits, — about eleven pence — and every 
other work in proportion! A work pub- 
lished in England comes out almost simul- 
taneously in the United States ; and Eng- 
lish works of standard authors are eagerly 
bought, and read — I suspect — mostly by 
the ladies. 



CHAPTER IV. 

MR. CLAY THE POPULAR ORATOR. GENERAL REMARKS 
ON AMERICAN SOCIETY AND MANNERS. DEPARTURE 
FROM NEW ORLEANS. 

Si nous n'avions point de defauts, nous ne prendrions 
pas tant de plaisir a en remarquer dans les autres. 

Rochefoucauld . 

L'esprit de defiance nous fait croire que tout le monde 
est capable de nous tromper. 

La Bruyere. 

Mr. Clay was at New Orleans : he is their 
great orator and a whig, and it is supposed 
by many that he will be their president at 
some future time. There was much public 
dancing, driving, eating and speechifying in 
his honour, for among the characteristics of 
their English origin, that of exercising their 
eating and drinking powers in behalf of a 
popular character, still remains in all its 



65 



glory. Mr. Clay is deservedly popular ; he 
was making a sort of progress through the 
States, but I am told does not pay his tra- 
velling expences out of his own purse. This 
makes a vast difference, and is the strongest 
possible proof of the orator's popularity. 
The affections of the multitude seldom en- 
dure, after an appeal is made to their poc- 
kets. The last tribute paid before his de- 
parture, to the orator's high, and well de- 
served reputation, appeared in the shape of 
a public ball. Invitations were sent on 
board the yacht, but unluckily they only 
arrived the day after the fete ; and by this 
means we were prevented from witnessing 
what was, no doubt, an interesting national 
display. I heard, however, the events of the 
evening described, and Mr. Clay's polite 
speech to the New Orleans ladies was much 
admired. 



66 



One of my greatest sources of amuse- 
ment, was in remarking how different are the 
sayings and doings of a people speaking the 
same language, and descended from the 
same parent stock as ourselves. In the 
stores, you will see people, who should you 
happen to meet them the next day, will be 
prepared at once to claim your notice, by 
shaking hands with you. This custom, 
strange as it at first appears to the inhabit- 
ant of aristocratic countries, is very easily 
accounted for. Let it be remembered that, 
in this country, no " honest calling " pre- 
cludes a man from the right of being called 
a " gentleman," and that whilst you are 
possibly stigmatizing him as " forward " or 
" impertinent," he is not in the least degree 
conscious, that because your fortune may 
consist in lands, place or funded property, 
and his in dry goods, you are, therefore, in 



67 



any way privileged to consider yourself a 
greater man than himself. 

It struck me, however, that the manners 
of the Americans were deficient in that real 
dignity, which consists in finding ones right 
place in society and keeping it. In such a 
society as exists in America, all stations are 
ill defined, nor can there ever be a standard 
of good breeding, where so many causes con- 
cur to render the grades of society for ever 
fluctuating. Much, therefore, is left to the 
intuitive tact and natural good sense of each 
individual ; but the peculiar sensitiveness of 
the Americans renders them perhaps ill qua- 
lified to manage these delicate matters well. 
This is particularly to be remarked when 
they are brought in contact with foreigners. 
The American who, in his own country, and 
towards his own people, is courteous and po- 
lite, — neither vainglorious, nor apt to take 



68 



offence, — becomes in Europe, or amongst 
Europeans (from this very want of knowing 
his station) abrupt, rude, and offensively 
boastful. He lives in constant fear of trans- 
gressing those rules of etiquette, of which 
he greatly overrates the importance ; and, 
fearful of not being enough considered, and 
aiming at achieving a trivial and unworthy 
importance, he ceases to be the manly, in- 
dependent character, for which nature and 
education intended him. 

But to return to the effect produced upon 
us by the apparent familiarity of an Ameri- 
can's first abord. The Englishman, wrap- 
ped up in his armour of aristocratic absurdi- 
ty, need not be alarmed at the advances of 
the well meaning Yankee ; the latter has 
his share of pride, and that not a trifling 
one ; and he is the last man in the world, 
to force his acquaintance where there is the 



69 



slightest chance of its being unwelcome. 
I allow, that some things here are startling 
enough at first, and I confess that I did not 
quite like hearing my maid called, " the 
lady that waits upon you." One is also cer- 
tainly apt to imagine undue familiarities 
and disrespect, where nothing of the kind 
is intended : but wait a little ; divest your- 
self of a few of the prejudices engendered 
and fostered by our conventional state of 
society, and we shall soon be less shocked, 
and more willing to give our friends across 
the water credit for good feeling, and good 
sense, though perhaps not for good taste. 
The English are too apt to assert as an un- 
deniable fact, that tC the Americans are un- 
gentlemanlike ;" thus arrogating to them- 
selves the right of deciding upon the man- 
ners of a whole nation. But let us ask on 
what grounds they claim this exclusive cen- 



70 

sorship ? We have, I admit, set up for our- 
selves a standard of refinement, and savoir 
/aire, very different from anything we are 
likely to meet with in the United States ; 
but does it, therefore, follow that we must 
be right ; or that, allowing that our habits 
are more refined, there are not advantages 
in their democratic state of society, which 
more than counterbalance those of which 
we are so proud. 

In aristocratic societies, where all is po- 
lished, there is more, much more that is 
false : the soft, and pleasant veil of refine- 
ment, in rendering vice less revolting, great- 
ly increases its growth ; and in a society 
such as ours, where the display of natural 
feelings is repressed by the cold rules of 
ceremony and what is called good breeding, 
great risk is run of their being extinguished 
altogether. The genuine kindheartedness 



71 



of the Yankee is not checked by these cold 
and unnatural laws, and vice with them, 
being seen in all its native deformity, un- 
adorned and hideous, is never mistaken for 
what it is not, but is reprobated as it de- 
serves to be. 

Originality, and absence of affectation, are 
the essential characteristics of American 
manners ; I speak of the gentleman of the 
United States, when in his own country. 
Whatever is original, and natural, carries 
with it a certain respectability, but directly 
this is lost, indifferent imitations take its 
place, and the imitative American like every 
one else in similar circumstances, becomes 
ridiculous. The manners of the Americans 
in general, however, are not bad, and it can 
only be alledged against them that they 
have no artificial manners at all. This, in 
our estimation, is a grievous fault ; and it 



72 

must be admitted, that infinite pleasure is 
taken by our countrymen in turning into 
ridicule the peculiarities of a people, of 
whose real excellencies they are too preju- 
diced to judge impartially. That the ridi- 
cule is returned by the Americans, and with 
interest, and often with as much legitimate 
food for its exercise, there is no doubt. The 
manners and habits of the English differing 
so essentially from their own, are not likely 
to escape with impunity ; and whilst the 
members of our aristocratic community are 
laughing contemptuously at the want of 
courtly breeding displayed by the Ameri- 
cans, the latter are still less lenient to our 
devotion to trivial etiquette, and what they 
consider our servile adulation of rank and 
station. 

After all, what can be the motives which 
induce two great nations to be constantly 



73 



attacking each other in this puerile way. 
They are on different sides of the wide At- 
lantic ; surely there is room enough in the 
world for both. The hostile feeling, existing 
between the countries, is kept alive by the 
constant attacks of authors, many of whom 
are ignorant of the nature of really good 
society. These people cross the Atlantic 
from the east and west ; a clever, but possi- 
bly an underbred English writer, makes a 
tour of the States, sees absolutely nothing 
of good American society, and publishes a 
book, criticising that of which he or she is 
totally unqualified to give an opinion. This 
work is then sent across the Atlantic, as a 
faithful picture of the habits and national 
characteristics of a great nation. Upon 
this, there follows squib after squib from 
either side. The great features of national 
character are disregarded, and the points 

VOL. II. E 



74 

of attack are small personal defects, faults 
of language, and coarseness of behaviour. 
Animosity is excited in both nations, for 
who can deny that ridicule is harder to bear 
than abuse. Neither the English, nor the 
Americans, find it easy to forgive an affront, 
and the feeling of jealousy, and suspicion, 
once thoroughly aroused, it will I fear be 
long before it is allayed. Owing to this in- 
veterate feeling, the English traveller in the 
States finds the greatest difficulty in arriv- 
ing at truth ; whilst the American in Eng- 
land sees everything through a mental 
vision, distorted by prejudice, jealousy, and 
vindictiveness. 

One of the principal charges brought 
against our friends across the Atlantic is, 
that they are in the habit of boasting, both 
of themselves and their country, in an in- 
discriminate and offensive manner. If we 



75 



were not endowed with a considerable 
share of pride ourselves, we should not 
complain so much when we meet with it 
in others ; for that which renders the va- 
nity of others so insupportable, is that it 
wounds our own. 

The Americans are proud, and justly so, 
of their self-earned freedom, of the liberal 
constitution of their country, and of the 
place in the scale of nations in which their 
own exertions have placed them. It is un- 
fortunate, however, that they cannot bear 
their honours meekly, but do injury to 
their own, and their country's cause, by 
their habits of exaggeration and self- 
praise. There is a want of quiet and ge- 
nuine dignity about the American's sense 
of freedom and equality. If he feels 
that the advantages he thus enjoys are 
great, let him value them in silence, and let 



76 



their fruits be seen. The Americans, how- 
ever, would not be half so boastful, did they 
feel that they were correctly judged, and 
rightly appreciated by us. That they will be 
so in time, I have little doubt, but time must 
elapse before either party will be softened. 
It is a good genuine brotherly hatred, the 
strongest of any when it once takes root, 
because, in fraternal feuds, jealousy has al- 
ways more or less a share. 

But it is not only in their personal habits, 
that the Americans find themselves exposed 
to attack and criticism. A strong feeling 
against their good faith and trustworthiness 
certainly exists, both as regards their public 
and private relations. In this respect, I can 
make but few remarks, and those certainly 
cannot be in their justification. Amongst 
themselves, it is well known that there 
hardly exists a man, who for the sake of 



77 



realizing a profit, be it ever so small, will 
scruple to employ any means in his power 
to overreach his neighbour. This being 
known and acknowledged, it excites among 
themselves neither fear nor indignation ; the 
struggle between these acute calculators 
becomes neither more nor less than a keen 
encounter of their wits, in which honour, 
and high feeling have no share. 

It is true that both parties, (where the 
means employed are no secret) start upon 
equal terms ; but such freedom of action, 
(to speak of it in the mildest terms) must, 
to a certain degree, blunt the susceptibi- 
lities, and cause an absence of gentle- 
manly and honourable feeling in their 
money concerns, both public and pri- 
vate. Notwithstanding all this, I believe 
that such better feelings do exist, and I am 
convinced, that in proportion as an Ameri- 



78 



can will exert all his energies to shave his 
adversary on change, so he will be true as 
steel to the friend, whom he has once ad- 
mitted to his confidence. 

The only apparent aristocracy in the 
United States is that of wealth, and heaven 
knows the idol is in no want of worship- 
pers. It has, however, been impossible for 
even this democratic and money-making 
people to root out of their English natures 
their respect for rank, and their zeal for 
personal aggrandisement. They have a 
way of talking about titles and hereditary 
distinctions, from royalty to the last made 
peer, which is meant to mark their con- 
tempt for such aristocratic follies. It is 
done, too, with a bravado, which is often 
intended to shock the prejudices of their 
English auditors. The very frequency of 
their recurrence to these topics, however, 



79 

sufficiently marks the degree of importance 
which they attach to them. I saw instances 
of this without end, and even heard of an 
American gentleman, who, being confined 
to his bed during a long illness, seriously 
amused himself with reading the Peerage 
from beginning to end ! In short, I should 
say, that no people bend the knee lower at 
the shrine of hereditary rank than the 
Americans ; and I verily believe, that if 
Queen Victoria were to take an excursion 
across the Atlantic, a circumstance which, 
in these days of locomotive Sovereigns 
seems not quite impossible, her Majesty 
might travel from New York to Virginny, 
with true-hearted Yankees harnessed to her 
travelling carriage. I do not know, however, 
if I could venture to affirm as much, if 
royalty were to pay them a visit under any 
other form than that of youth and beauty. 



80 



I think it is De Tocqueville who re- 
marks on the fondness of the Americans 
generally for tracing back their origin to 
the first colonists of the country ; and cer- 
tainly, with all their jealousy of the Mother 
Country, they are exceedingly proud of 
their Anglo-Saxon origin. I have also no- 
ticed, that notwithstanding the very equality 
of which the Yankee so frequently boasts, as 
marking the superiority of his own nation 
over that of every other people, he is most 
anxious to disclaim the existence of in his 
ow T n person. By some means or other, 
he is always attempting to prove that he is 
a splendid exception to the general rule, and 
that he is a great man on his own account, 
— a very triton among the minnows. 

Another petty cause of still more trivial 
quarrels, is a habit to which the Americans 
are remarkably addicted, namely, that of 



81 



drawing incessant comparisons between the 
two countries. If the institutions, the ha- 
bits, or even the public characters of Great 
Britain are under discussion, an American 
immediately sets to work to find some pa- 
rallel in his own country, the merits of 
which he hopes will throw those of the op- 
posite party into the shade. Violent and 
provoking language is often the result of 
this injudicious conduct ; and unfortu- 
nately, even in private society, and in the 
presence of ladies, they are too apt to lead 
the conversation to these unsafe and disa- 
greeable subjects. As an instance of this, 
an American gentleman one evening said to 
me, speaking of the apartment in which we 
were sitting, "I expect now, you've not 
such lofty rooms as these, Ma'am, in the 
Old Country ?" And then again, " Why 
now, don't you diet in public at the hotel ? 

E II. 



82 



you mightn't do it in England, but here we 
never do insult our females." It is difficult, 
in offering an opinion on the American 
people, to avoid giving offence to one side 
or the other. Few travellers in the United 
States will venture to be sincere in their 
remarks. The English are not satisfied if 
the dish of American abuse served up to 
them, is insufficient to satisfy the cravings 
of their appetite, whilst the Yankees are 
equally indignant, if they are spoken of in 
any other terms, than as the " greatest na- 
tion on the face of God's airth." Of their 
public debts I have said enough, and will 
only add, that they cannot expect to be po- 
pular in England, so long as thousands are 
losers by their dishonesty. On the other 
hand, both parties should remember that 
they are descended from the same parent 
stock, and this ought to be a motive, as soon 



83 



as possible, for burying their grievances 
in oblivion. The national character of the 
Americans is the same as our own ; 
changed, however, and modified by a 
widely different form of government, and 
habits exclusively commercial. That these 
habits are among those that "tame great 
nations," there is no question ; and I fear it 
is equally true, that when "men change 
swords for ledgers," "ennobling thoughts 
depart." In some respects, they may be bet- 
ter than those who live in the land of their 
fathers, and in others worse ; let us, there- 
fore, hope for peace between them. 

For my own part, I confess that after 
a short residence, I entertained towards 
the inhabitants of this fine specimen of 
an American city, very different feelings 
from those with which I entered it. It 
is true, indeed, that my experience of 



84 



their character, and my time for observa- 
tion, were both limited ; still, during the 
season of our residence, thousands met at 
New Orleans from all parts of the Ame- 
rican Union. This is always the case 
during the winter and business months ; 
and I was informed, that perhaps no where 
could so good an opportunity be found, for 
strangers to see a considerable variety of 
character and incident. The Americans are, 
I should say, hospitable, warm-hearted, and 
generous ; and inclined to be so most parti- 
cularly to the English who visit their city. 

As for the middle and lower classes, (for, 
notwithstanding their boasted equality, such 
distinctions do, and must exist) I should 
pronounce them to be far superior, both in 
education, conduct, and address, to the 
corresponding class in our own country. 
The knowledge which each man possesses, 



85 

that he may, by good conduct and superior 
attainments, raise himself to the highest 
consideration enjoyed among his country- 
men, must, in almost all cases, have the 
effect of stimulating the mind to good and 
useful endeavours, and preventing the in- 
crease of disorderly, idle and useless mem- 
bers of the community. 

Our intention, in returning to New Orleans, 
had been to ascend the Mississippi to a consi- 
derable distance, and thus to see as much as 
we could in a short time of this wonderful 
river, and the great and rising cities on its 
banks. Our purpose was defeated, by 
hearing unsatisfactory accounts of the state 
of the country ; the snows and ice not 
being sufficiently melted to render travel- 
ling agreeable. I was extremely disap- 
pointed at finding that my plan for making 
a northern tour could not be carried into 



86 

execution. It is, however, only postponed ; 
and I hope at some future time to extend 
my knowledge of America beyond its pre- 
sent narrow limits. I have said, that in 
Louisiana the nature of the people is kind 
and liberal, — what it may be in the northern 
states, where the climate, and other causes, 
may contribute to chill the feelings, and 
deaden the quick impulses, I have yet to 
learn. 

I can hardly imagine a more pleasurable 
excursion than that of ascending or de- 
scending the Mississippi, in one of their 
great river steamers. I went on board one 
of the largest, the Missouri, before we left, 
and was really astonished at the comfort of 
the interior. There is so much room for 
every one, such space for walking exercise, 
that confinement in her would, I think, be 
no punishment, even for a considerable 



87 



time. And then there would be the con- 
stant variety of scenery, the change of 
place — all delightful. But the time has 
come when we must take our leave. I see 
the little fleet forming the Texan navy 
busy in making preparations for a warlike 
cruise ; and I hear our men singing and 
joking, in their delight at the prospect of a 
change. The order is given to weigh an- 
chor, and we float down the stream once 
more. As we approached the mouth of the 
south-west pass, we perceived two large 
cotton vessels bound for Liverpool, and 
drawing about sixteen feet of water, stick- 
ing fast in the mud. We were told that 
they had been in the same situation 
three weeks, and that it was not unusual 
for vessels to remain there double that 
time. They looked very forlorn and un- 
comfortable. 



CHAPTER V. 



SECOND ARRIVAL AT GALVESTON. TEXAN NEWS. THE 
ELLEN FRANKLAND STEAMER'S VOYAGE UP THE TRI- 
NITY RIVER. ITS IMPORTANCE. STATE OF COM- 
MERCE. CAPACITY OF GALVESTON HARBOUR. FALSE 
ACCOUNTS OF CRIME IN TEXAS. FORTUNE-GETTING 
PROPENSITY. 



Nor will life's stream for observation stay, 

It hurries all too fast to mark their way : 

In vain sedate reflections we would make, 

When half our knowledge we must snatch, not take. 

Pope. 
Have we not track'd the felon home, and found 
His birth-place, and his dam ? 

Cowper. 
****** 

Let th' arraign'd 
Stand up unconscious, and refute the charge. 

Idem . 

After a short and prosperous voyage, we 
were again at anchor in Galveston harbour. 
Immediately after our arrival, we received 



89 



the cordial greetings of our kind friends, 
and were congratulated on having a third 
time braved the dangers of the bar in 
safety. Our first inquiry was, of course, for 
news, and we were not afraid of hearing the 
reply, so commonly made in Europe, " No- 
thing at all going on — all as flat as pos- 
sible." Just at present, in this struggling 
country, every hour brings with it its event, 
and not a day passes without being marked 
by some endeavour (often a successful one) 
of these energetic settlers to raise their 
country into strength and prosperity. The 
most important among the events which 
were in progress, was the advance of a 
body of Mexicans. They were said to 
be approaching the town of Bexar, but 
not in any considerable force. The Texans 
did not seem in the least afraid of 
them ; indeed, I rather thought our friends 



90 



would not object to having another brush 
with the enemy. The President was still 
up the country at Washington ; and it 
had been announced that the lady of 
the General, (the President ess, or what- 
ever her title may be,) had given birth 
to a son. May he one day fill the office, 
and enjoy the honours now so worthily 
borne by his sire. Another circumstance 
which had lately occurred, had caused 
great satisfaction. A steamer, by name the 
Ellen Frankland, had returned in safety to 
the harbour, after having made a successful 
voyage up the Trinity river, to a distance 
of between four and five hundred miles 
from its mouth. This was the first occasion 
of such an undertaking having succeeded ; 
and it forms almost an era in the commer- 
cial history of the country. The voyage 
must have been a peculiarly interesting 



91 



one, and Mr. Houston had decided to take 
a passage on board, when the Ellen Frank- 
land went her next trip. Our stay, how- 
ever, was not long enough for us to take 
advantage of such an excellent opportu- 
nity for seeing the country, and when 
this interesting and adventurous little vessel 
tried her fate again, we were daring the 
dangers of the deep on our way back to 
Old England. Captain Frankland, the 
owner of the steamer, assured us that 
the navigation was perfectly practicable, 
even to a point within a distance of sixty or 
seventy miles of the Red river. This part 
of the country had been lately granted to a 
joint company of English and American 
speculators, who had already introduced a 
great number of settlers. I have heard, also, 
that an English company have lately under- 
taken a speculation, which appears likely to 



92 



prove not only a source of considerable 
profit to themselves, but also to be in its 
results extremely advantageous to the inte- 
rests of the country generally. The inten- 
tion is to run iron steamers, with a very 
light draught, up and down the Trinity; 
the steamers having flat bottomed rafts at- 
tached to them. The successful result of 
Captain Frankland's expedition, has proved 
that there do not exist in the Trinity river, 
any great or insurmountable impediments 
to navigation. This cannot be said of the 
generality of the rivers in Texas, which are 
shallow, and full of snags and hindrances of 
all kinds. As regards its position with re- 
ference to the United States, the navigable 
capabilities of the Trinity must prove of 
immense and incalculable benefit to the city 
of Galveston, in a commercial point of view, 
and the citizens are already anticipating 



93 



the numerous advantages they are likely to 
derive from the discovery of this invaluable 
water privilege. It is now ascertained that 
a canal, connecting the Trinity with the 
the Red river, would not be by any means 
an expensive undertaking, the distance 
being about sixty miles, and the country 
perfectly level. There can be no doubt 
that all the vast quantity of cotton, and 
other produce grown on the Red lands, 
would then be transmitted direct, by means 
of the canal and the Trinity river, to the 
town of Galveston, instead of being put on 
board steamers in the Red river,* and being 
sent by a long, dangerous, and most cir- 

* The Americans attach such importance to this Red 
river trade, that the United States Congress has repeat- 
edly voted immense sums to clear away the rafts, or 
wood drifts, which are constantly accumulating, and to 
such an extent, as frequently to put a stop to navigation 
for months together. 



94 



cuitous route to New Orleans. I fancy 
that the citizens of the republic enjoy not a 
little the idea of overreaching and circum- 
venting the Americans. They are perfectly 
aware, that should this mode of transit be 
established, a grand field will be opened to 
them for all sorts of smuggling transactions. 
Unlawful goods will do doubt be introduced 
into the United States, in sufficient quanti- 
ties to supply the whole western country, 
and American produce will doubtless be ex- 
ported from Galveston by the Texans, 
greatly to the dissatisfaction of their ci-de- 
vant countrymen at New Orleans. 

In considering the state of commerce 
here, there is one truth plainly evident, viz. 
that the Texas will soon monopolize the 
whole of the Mexican trade. This has 
hitherto been conducted by trading parties 
from the United States, who after traversing 



95 



the entire extent of the Great Western 
Prairies, as far as the Rocky Mountains, 
meet, and transact their negociations with 
the Mexican traders at Santa Fe. When 
it is considered, that Santa Fe is only dis- 
tant from Galveston five hundred miles, one 
may form some idea of the commercial ad- 
vantages the Texans would possess over the 
Americans. The latter have, for years, 
found it worth their while to pay the enor- 
mous duties charged for the admission of 
English cotton goods into America. The 
merchandize has then been transported from 
Philadelphia or New York, upwards of four 
thousand miles to Santa Fe, and great part 
of this distance on the backs of beasts of 
burthen. What a price the poor Mexicans 
must have paid for their purchases, to allow 
these enterprising traders a profit, and one 
good enough to satisfy a Yankee calculator. 



96 



It might naturally have been expected, 
that these signs of the present, and visions 
of the future, would have aroused the go- 
vernment to exertion ; and induced them 
to take some measures in order to render 
the entrance of the harbour less dangerous. 
Nothing, however, has been done ; and as 
long as the men in office and authority per- 
ceive no actual good resulting to themselves 
individually, from the furtherance of any 
public work, they will not endeavour to 
forward it. They are not sufficiently dis- 
interested, to expend the public money 
upon the public alone. 

The harbour of Galveston, if properly 
buoyed, would be, by no means, a bad 
one. The entrance is perfectly safe for 
vessels drawing ten feet of water, and there 
are times when ships drawing twelve, and 
even fourteen feet, may venture in. It 



97 



is without, any question, the best harbour 
in the Gulph of Mexico, and there is no 
doubt that no other port than that of Gal- 
veston will ever be of any commercial im- 
portance in Texas. In the present state, 
however^ of this neglected harbour, no Com- 
pany either in England or America, will in- 
sure vessels bound for the port of Galveston. 
We had determined not to put implicit 
faith in the numerous surveys and charts of 
the different harbours lower down the Gulf, 
and had resolved, if possible, to see and 
judge for ourselves. The intention was 
to send the government pilot, a clever 
navigator, in his little schooner down to Ma- 
tagorda, and Aransas. After ascertaining the 
depth of water on the several bars, we should 
then know where we might venture to take 
the yacht, and Mr. Houstoun would possibly 
have an opportunity of enjoying some buf- 

VOL. II. F 



98 



falo hunting, which he was very anxious to 
do. The Chasse in Western Texas is far 
superior to any that can be hoped for here ; 
considerable herds of buffalo and wild horses 
still existing, and deer in great numbers. 
The country also, near the sea in Western 
Texas is described as being elevated ; 
and instead of being, like other parts of 
the country, low and almost under water, 
the undulating hills approach in the vicinity 
of Aransas, almost to the sea beach. 

A great deal has been said about the 
vast extent of crime in the Republic of 
Texas. If we are to believe many of the 
writers of the day, murderers are to be met 
at every town, life is not safe for a moment, 
and private property is never respected. 
The whole of the population are described 
as dishonest and bloodthirsty ; the very 
refuse of the vile. There is said to be u no 



99 



law " and that public justice is unknown. 
That these accusations are almost entirely 
false I have no hesitation in asserting ; 
indeed, even by a glance at the general 
character of the people, one must feel that 
they are undeserved. Let us ask, is an 
irresistible longing for freedom the charac- 
teristic of a mind degraded by crime ? Do 
felons, thieves, and assassins fight for their 
country, as the Texans have done ? I 
should say, certainly not ; and the refuta- 
tion of the charge becomes still more clear 
and positive, when we recollect, that it was 
not for pay that they fought ; but that they 
were actuated by one spontaneous impulse 
of patriotism, and the love of honest inde- 
pendence. " Sound healthy children of the 
God of Heaven, " they could not submit to 
the degrading yoke of the Mexican. But 
there is another circumstance which tends 



100 

to give the lie to these accusations, and to 
establish the fact that the Texans are at least 
not worse than their neighbours, viz. the 
fact of the almost non-existence of courts 
of law in this country. This is nearly the 
only one in the long list of accusations 
brought against the colonists in Texas, in 
which there is truth. The rarity of the 
criminal acts (which I maintain there is in 
this country) is rendered still more remark- 
able by this circumstance. Lynch Law is 
the only description of retributive justice to 
be looked for here ; and if we compare the 
annals of crime in other countries, (where 
men are restrained by the strong arm of the 
law) with the list of offences committed 
here, we could easily prove that the pri- 
mitive proceedings of the Texans are not 
productive of murders, thefts, and immora- 
lities. In a country where there is no police, 



101 

and no executive authority, it is something 
to say, — and it may be said with truth, 
— that theft is almost unknown. Should 
such a misdemeanour be committed, and it 
is on record that a Scotchman once stole a 
piece of meat from the house of a neigh- 
bour, summary justice would be administer- 
ed by the unanimous voice of the people. 
As to the charge, so often brought against 
them, of shooting and stabbing, I aver, that 
were any other people possessed of the same 
power of killing their adversaries with impu- 
nity, they would much more frequently avail 
themselves of the privilege. The Texans, 
almost without exception, carry their natio- 
nal weapon, the Bowie knife, about them, and 
this alone, one would imagine, would lead to 
a frequency of assassinations. It is proved, 
even among our own people, that the use 
of the knife, when found conveniently at 



102 

hand, can hardly be resisted in moments 
of passionate anger, and this in a country 
where punishment is sure to follow. The 
Texan, to a certain degree, is allowed to 
take the law into his own hands, but should 
it afterwards be pronounced by the unpre- 
judiced voices of the people, that either the 
punishment of his enemy was undeserved, 
or not warranted by the first duty of self- 
preservation, he becomes himself amenable 
to punishment by means of Lynch Law. 
That this state of things cannot continue 
long, I am well aware, nor can it be 
doubted, that the increase of population, 
the introduction of luxuries, and innu- 
merable other causes, will soon alter en- 
tirely the face of society. At present, 
however, the Texan people go on re- 
markably well, with their primitive system 
of administeringjustice. During the months 



103 

we remained in Galveston harbour, there 
was no single instance of malicious crime — 
no street rights — no apparent drunkenness 
or tumult. It is true that on New Year's 
day, one man was shot, and doubtless this 
fact would, to those ignorant of the de- 
tails, furnish a strong argument in favour 
of the popular opinion of the prevalence 
of crime in Texas. The circumstances 
were as follow ; — some children were 
quarrelling in the street ; from words they 
came to blows, when their respective pa- 
rents, who had been drinking together, 
thought proper to interfere. " I say, 
sir, you call your children away sir." 
This gentle remonstrance, not being duly 
attended to, the speaker went forthwith for 
his rifle, and was in the act of presenting it 
at the head of his foe (probably only as a 
means of intimidation) when he received his 



104 

death wound, from the other's pistol. No 
notice whatever was taken of this misde- 
meanour. 

Two well known German noblemen, sent 
out by their government to report on the 
condition of Texas and its supposed advan- 
tages as a field for emigration, were travel- 
ling through the country at the same time 
as ourselves, and they have given it as their 
opinion, that considering the state of the 
laws, no country was ever so free from 
crime as this. The case of manslaughter 
I have related, was perpetrated on a day 
of public rejoicing and misrule ; the par- 
ties had been drinking at one of the nu- 
merous bars ; their passions were ex 
cited, and the whole affair was the work 
of a moment. It is due to the survivor 
to add, that the children of the de- 
ceased were received and provided for by 



105 

him in the most liberal manner he could 
afford. 

I have asserted that the Texans are will- 
ing (beyond most other people) to assist 
each other ; at the same time I wish not to 
affirm that the person who confers the 
benefit will not expect a quid pro quo in 
some shape or other. In a society such 
as this, where " taking your neighbour in " 
is called smartness, and inveigling him out 
of some portion of his lawful property., 
goes by the gentle name of " shaving " 
him, one must not expect to meet with 
much delicacy, in the arrangement of ac- 
counts between man and man. As a proof 
however of the rarity of theft, even houses 
containing valuable property are left un- 
tenanted and unsecured, and this without 
any fear of their being entered by a ma- 
rauder. 

p ii. 



106 

As the city increases in size and im- 
portance, there will doubtless be more law, 
more justice, and more — crime. At pre- 
sent, in this small community the eyes of 
each man are on his neighbour ; they unite 
for their common security, and the rowdy 
fellozv, (anglice scamp) is held in check by 
the conciousness, that should he offend, and 
shock the prejudices of society, tarring and 
feathering would be his portion. 

I never heard of Texan heads being sub- 
mitted to the examination of a professor of 
Phrenology, but I should imagine that the 
bump of invention would be found largely 
developed. A man will inform you, with 
the gravest face in the world, that he has 
seen in the Prairie a buffalo weighing two 
thousand stone ! and another, that he has 
met a Comanchee coming home from 
market to his wife, with the legs and arms 



107 

of human beings slung over his shoulders, 
to dress for supper ! 

When two Texan gentleman are engaged 
in a dispute; however violent may be the 
discussion, the courtesy of the " sir " is 
never omitted. On the contrary it is re- 
peated at every third word, and mixed up 
as it is with the oaths and denunciations, 
with which they always interlard their dis- 
course, the effect is curious enough. They 
always end their anecdotes with " and that's 
a fact sir by G — ," pronounced with great 
energy. The manner it would be in vain 
to describe, but the more unfathomable the 
falsehood, the greater is the energy they em- 
ploy in the utterance of these expressive 
words. " Seeing the giraffe ahead " is one of 
their singular but every day expressions. 
An acute Kentucky man giving an account 
one day to Mr. Houstoun of a speculation 



108 

in which he had lately been engaged, and 
speaking (of course with the universal nasal 
twang) of a smart Yankee, who was plotting 
against him, and whose designs he had de- 
tected, wound up with " I stopt there sir — 
I went no further — I saw the giraffe ahead." 
The origin of this quaint expression I was 
not able to discover,* but they understand 
one another so perfectly, their crooked ways 
and their turnings and windings, that it is 
really amusing, to watch the progress of a 
game played between two able combatants. 
I have often thought, however, that they 
are apt to overreach themselves by too much 
cunning. 

* It is curious and interesting to trace the origin of 
words and names, and to see how much corruption has 
crept in amongst them. Among the names of some of 
their rich districts, we find those of " Bob Ruly," and 
" Wash-Grasses." There can be no doubt that the 
former was originally " Bois-brule," and the latter, 
" Vache grasse." 



109 

Every thought and every idea here resolves 
itself into money. In their getting up, and 
lying down, in their eating, drinking, and 
sleeping moments, in the home of their 
wives and children, and in the bar room of 
the drinking houses, — dollars, and how to 
obtain them, seems their one sole and en- 
grossing thought. Whether or not they 
are attached to their kindred, I cannot say, 
but certainly, to judge from the very little 
time they seem to spend " in the bosom of 
their families," domestic life can have but 
slight charms for them. 

The Texan ladies generally, I fancy, lead 
rather secluded and quiet lives, and are re- 
served and silent. 

The society of Galveston invited us to a 
ball at the Tremont House, and I greatly 
regretted not being able to accept the civi- 
lity, but the weather was extremely cold, and 



110 

the return to the yacht at night neither safe 
nor pleasant for a lady. Were I asked 
what is the national religion of the Texan 
people, I should answer none. It is true, the 
places of public worship are more than suf- 
ficient, and that every one attends the ser- 
vice on Sunday, and that the religious ob- 
servance of the sabbath is not more neglect- 
ed than it is in catholic countries in Europe. 
On the other hand, the feeling of devotion, 
and the respectful upholding of religion is 
apparently absent ; I may wrong them, and 
I trust I do, but I judge from their conver- 
sation, from the education of their children, 
and not a little from their constant habit of 
profane swearing. This renders the society 
of Americans " generally" extremely painful 
to those, who are accustomed to treat the 
sacred name of the Deity with awe and re- 
spect. It is very distressing to hear little 



Ill 

children practising their first powers of ut- 
terance in mocking their Creator, and older 
boys, in almost every class, vying with each 
other in taking his Name in vain. 



CHAPTER VI. 



SUFFERINGS OF EMIGRANTS. TEXAS AN ADVANTA- 
GEOUS FIELD FOR SETTLERS. CLIMATE. PRODUC- 
TIONS OF THE COUNTRY. DISADVANTAGES. 



Yes I have loved thy wild abode, 
Unknown, unploughed, untrodden shore ; 
Where scarce the woodman finds a road, 
And scarce the fisher plies an oar. 

Campbell. 

I was sorry to hear from Monsieur de 
C , that the French emigrants, who ar- 
rived at Galveston during our former visit, 
were not, as we had supposed, sent out by 
the French government, but by one of their 
speculating countrymen, and that they had 
already suffered considerably, from various 
unanticipated causes. In transporting so 
large a body of emigrants through the 



113 

country, arrangements ought to have been 
made for their support, and to defray the 
necessary expenses of the journey. I con- 
fess I cannot but regret that some thou- 
sands of our starving population cannot be 
conveyed to this country. The coloniza- 
tion of New South Wales and New Zealand 
is doubtless advantageous to Great Britain 
and certain speculative companies may 
derive benefit from it; but it may be 
questioned if the same good fortune gene- 
rally attends the poor colonists. In the 
latter colony, (New Zealand,) we have lately 
had a sad proof that the hardships and suf- 
ferings of the settlers are not of a trivial 
nature ; and that the difficulties with which 
these people have to contend, are not 
merely confined to the severe labour of 
hewing down the giant trees of the forest, 
and to the slow and wearying process of 



114 

clearing land.* The circumstance to which 
I allude, is the melancholy fate of Captain 
Wakefield and his companions, who were 
not long ago destroyed by the aborigines of 
the country. 

It cannot be denied, that as a field for 
settlers, Texas has considerable advantages 
over almost every other country. Its cli- 
mate, except in the lowlands, is excellent, 
and the settler has to encounter neither the 
extreme cold of the winter season, nor the 
scorching summer heat of the more nor- 
thern states of America and Canada, In 
the latter countries, also, the settler labours 
under the immense disadvantage of having 
to clear his land of the primeval woods, be- 
fore he can hope to establish any thing like 
a farm. This is a labour which he is spared 

* The New Zealand Company sell their land at thirty- 
shillings per acre. 



115 

in Texas, where the vast and productive 
prairies need but little improvement at the 
hands of the agriculturist. As compared 
with New South Wales and New Zealand, 
Texas has neither the poor soil, and 
drowths of the former, nor the high priced 
and thickly wooded lands of the latter. 
Lastly, Texas is within a month's, or at the 
outside, six weeks' journey of England; and 
by passing through the United States, it 
may even be accomplished in twenty-four 
days, without difficulty. This of itself is 
by no means a despicable advantage. 

I believe that the accounts generally 
given of the productiveness of the soil in 
Texas are not exaggerated. Its climate, 
also, in the rolling country, at a distance of 
seventy or eighty miles from the sea, is no 
doubt extremely healthy, perhaps as much so 
as any in the world ; it is also comparatively 



116 

free from musquitoes and other reptiles. 
The lowlands, however, between the rolling 
country and the sea, are, from all we could 
learn, scarcely habitable for Europeans. 
We certainly saw a few Germans, who had 
been settled on the banks of the Brazos, in 
the low country, for five years, but they had 
repeatedly suffered from fevers, though they 
were now to a certain extent acclimatized. 
A more miserable looking set of objects 
I never beheld. Another evil, and one 
scarcely less to be dreaded than the fever, 
consists in the myriads of musquitoes, 
which are so venomous and troublesome as 
to render existence hardly endurable. We 
were only in Texas in the winter season, 
and had, therefore, happily no opportunity 
of judging, in our own persons, of the ex- 
tent of the nuisance. There can be no 
doubt that this low country, whose soil, 



117 

however, is unequalled in richness, can 
only be inhabited by people from the 
southern states of America, Louisiana, Mis- 
sissippi, &c. The inhabitants of those 
provinces have been used to even more 
unhealthy situations than the Texan low- 
lands, and without the benefit of the con- 
stant fresh sea breeze, or trade wind, (as it 
may almost be called,) which blows over 
the latter. It has, I believe, been asserted, 
that the productions of this part of Texas 
can be brought forth by slave or black la- 
bour alone. This, however, may be dis- 
puted. 

I shall now endeavour to give some ac- 
count of the productions of the country, 
which are, I should say, acquired by less 
labour than is perhaps necessary in any 
other part of the globe. This arises from 
the circumstance of the prairie being, as 



118 

one may say, already half cultivated by na- 
ture. It is, generally speaking, perfectly 
level, and no trees or shrubs interfere with 
the course of the plough, or the spade of 
the agriculturist. The soil is of great 
depth, and not a stone or even pebble can 
be discovered on turning up the earth. In 
the low country, cotton, sugar, and tobacco 
will be the great staples ; and, it is said, their 
quality is equal to the best that can be pro- 
duced in any other climate. In the rolling 
district, cotton, indigo, rice, wheat, barley, 
oats, and all the common vegetables of our 
own country, grow with wonderful luxuriance. 
Wheat, it is supposed, will come to greater 
perfection in the more hilly and less fertile 
district further to the north. Here, also, the 
apple and pear trees would doubtless thrive 
and produce abundantly ; but the climate of 
the southern portion of Texas is said to be 



119 

too warm to permit the inhabitants to enjoy 
these fruits in perfection. Indigo, and that 
of a very fine quality, is found growing wild 
in various parts of the country ; grapes, 
peaches, and plums seem indigenous, and 
are found growing wild in the woods. 
There can be no doubt, indeed, that the soil 
and climate are calculated to produce most 
of our English fruits in the greatest abun- 
dance ; and, in addition to them, many of 
those found in more southern climes. The 
prairie lands every where afford the very 
finest pasture, and cannot be surpassed for 
grazing purposes. So luxuriant is the 
growth of every kind of herbage, that 
throughout the year, cattle, grazing in the 
open country, are generally found in excel- 
lent condition ; and all the care that is re- 
quired in rearing stock, is easily obtained 
by employing a Mexican or two as herds- 



120 

men, an occupation for which they are ad- 
mirably fitted, and which they are said to 
fulfil with fidelity. Whilst we were in 
Texas, the price of an ox, or of a cow and 
calf, was five dollars, about a pound ster- 
ling, the dollar being valued at from forty- 
eight to fifty-two pence. Horses and mules 
could be bought at from thirty to fifty dol- 
lars; and whilst we were at Houston, a 
hundred pigs were sold at a halfpenny per 
pound weight. The mildness of the cli- 
mate, and the fact of its not being subject 
to the extremes of heat and cold, is very 
favourable to the increase of stock, poultry, 
&c. One of the most experienced and sa- 
gacious men in the country was of opinion, 
that no speculation would answer so well in 
Texas as the breeding of sheep; not only 
on account of the increasing demand for 
wool in the United States, but also to sup- 



121 

ply the wants of the settlers. And now 
having detailed many of the temptations 
offered to European emigrants, I feel bound 
to mention what seems to me the disadvan- 
tages attending the settling in Texas. The 
first and most apparent of them, is the diffi- 
culty of purchasing land with a good title. 
It was the opinion of some of the cleverest 
lawyers in Texas, that the titles to three- 
fourths of the "located" lands in Texas 
were of a doubtful character ; not perhaps 
absolutely invalid, but admitting of a law- 
suit. I dare say the attorneys themselves 
are generally too glad to undertake any 
case, for the chance of a share in the spoil, 
which here, as in more civilized countries, is 
by no means inconsiderable. Wood, in 
many parts of the country, is very abundant ; 
but I suspect that, as population increases, 
there will be found very frequently a want 

VOL. II. G 



122 

of this essential. Supposing the settler to 
have acquired his land in a healthy and de- 
sirable position, and to have made all his 
arrangements necessary for farming, &c, he 
will constantly be required, in his inter- 
course with his neighbours, (if, as is most 
probable, they happen to be Yankees,) to 
practice a degree of ingenuity and cunning 
in trading transactions, of which, I believe, 
few of our countrymen can boast. I heard, 
that owing to this deficiency in the art of 
" shaving," nine times out of ten, when an 
English settler had done business with a 
Yankee, the substance of the confiding 
John Bull had gradually diminished, until 
at length, his whole means had found their 
way into the possession of his more expe- 
rienced, but less scrupulous, neighbour. 
Many, tempted by the extremely low price 
of land, have been induced to choose "lo- 



123 

cations" far removed from the protection of 
civilized beings ; and not a few, in all pro- 
bability, have built their houses as near the 
river as possible. Here, after a time, if the 
settler escapes the fever and ague, he most 
likely finds himself unable to endure the 
utter loneliness and solitude of his position, 
together with the hardships and depriva- 
tions necessarily attendant upon such a re- 
sidence in the wilderness. His house is 
abandoned, and either falls into decay, or 
is destroyed by the bands of roving In- 
dians, who are not very scrupulous in re- 
gard to any flocks or herds they may 
chance to find unprotected. But it may be 
asked, how are these evils to be provided 
against ? I should say, easily enough. In 
the first place, settlers should be grega- 
rious ; companionship lightens toil, and pro- 
motes a spirit of emulation : and it is the 



124 

more necessary for our countrymen in par- 
ticular, that they should settle in herds, be- 
cause they generally have a defect in their 
character, which stands in the way of 
their success as settlers. This defect is pe- 
culiar to our middle and lower classes, and 
is not found among the Americans. The 
fault of which I speak, is the difficulty they 
find in adapting themselves to occupations 
to which they have been unaccustomed. 
The ploughman is a ploughman only ; he 
cannot use the axe, make a fence, or per- 
form the commonest carpenter s work. The 
carpenter, on the other hand, would be 
sadly puzzled to use the plough or spade ; 
and so, in like manner, with all. The 
American settler can generally turn his 
hand to anything, and no kind of work 
comes amiss to him. After finding fault 
with the Yankee as a neighbour, I believe 



125 

this may also be said of him, that although 
he is always on the look-out for a good 
thing, and would do his utmost to over- 
reach his neighbour, in what he considers 
fair trade, yet he will generally be found 
kind-hearted, good-natured, and willing 
both to assist and lend, if required. This T 
fancy is generally the case among early set- 
tlers, in a young country like this. I could 
find many more arguments to prove that 
English emigrants should only go to Texas 
in bodies, and then not without some one 
capable of directing them ; but that I think 
the fact must be self-evident. 



CHAPTER VII. 



PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE INDISPENSABLE TO A 
SETTLER IN A NEW COUNTRY. STORY OF A YOUNG 
EMIGRANT'S SUFFERINGS. 



Her's was the brow, in trials unperplex'd, 

That cheer'd the sad, and tranquillised the vex'd. 

Young, innocent, on whose sweet forehead mild 
The parted ringlet shone in simplest guise. 
****** 

He was her only child. 

Campeell. 

No settler in a new country should enter 
upon his vocation without having on hand 
an immense stock of perseverance. Pa- 
tience, under sickness and distress, is also 
another invaluable quality, the exercise of 
which will be often called for in the life of 
an emigrant. Let no one expect that his 



127 

bed in the wilderness will be one of roses ; 
the charms of this wild life will, on the 
contrary, often be varied by contretemps, 
and hardships of every description. 

I was much interested by an account I 
heard of a young emigrant, who, in the 
outset of his career, afforded a proof of the 
truth of my remarks. 

This settler was a young Scotchman, 
who having saved a few hundred pounds, 
and seeing no " opening" in his own coun- 
try, decided upon trying his fortune in 
the plains and prairies of Texas. His 
knowledge consisted of some practical in- 
formation on agricultural subjects, and on 
the price of stock, in England, and, in 
short, of farming details which apply ex- 
clusively to practice in the " Old Country." 

M'Leod, for so I will call him, had mar- 
ried a pretty Irish girl, of tolerable con- 



128 

nections and good education. She pos- 
sessed, withal, a light heart and a happy 
temper — no trifling recommendations for 
domestic life in the wilderness. Land, as I 
have elsewhere observed, is temptingly 
cheap far up the country ; so the Scotch- 
man easily made a purchase of a conside- 
rable tract ; and he, and his young wife, 
with a little helpless child, travelled by 
slow degress, but cheerfully and full of hope, 
towards the rolling country above Wash- 
ington. They had not been long in their 
new abode, when they discovered that the 
location was ill chosen. They had built 
their log house in a hollow, instead of on 
rising ground, which is everywhere at some- 
thing less than a mile distant from the river, 
it was therefore damp and unwholesome. In 
short, the M'Leods, like many other settlers, 
had rashly followed their own ideas, and 



129 

neglected to ask the advice of experienced 
dwellers in the country. The consequences 
of this imprudence soon made themselves 
apparent ; and in a short time, M'Leod 
was stretched upon his bed in a low and 
lingering fever. Nora's helpfulness was 
now of essential service. Strong in body, 
with hardy peasant nerves, and a genuine 
Irish spirit of good humour and trusting- 
ness, she nursed her sick husband, milked 
the cows, minded the house, and took care 
of the baby. 

Fortunately, in this rich soil and land of 
prolific produce, the means of existence 
were easily procured, at least for a season. 
Nora's stock of poultry was not easily ex- 
hausted, for the domestic fowls breed and 
rear their young much more frequently 
than in most other countries. Of the pigs, 
and other animals, the same may be safely 

G II. 



130 

averred ; and thus Nora and her little fa- 
mily continued to live on. But M'Leod's 
was not a temporary malady ; week after 
week sped by, and he lay there still, a use- 
less, powerless man. The nature of his 
complaint affected his spirits, and he seemed 
fast sinking into a state of helpless des- 
pondency. In vain did Nora, with her 
bright face, and cheerful voice, slightly in- 
dicative of her Hibernian origin, endeavour 
to console him. When the sick man in- 
dulged in sad prophecies of the poverty 
which he insisted would ere long come 
upon them, Nora would gaily repeat to 
him the Irish proverb, "Cheer up, my 
darling, there's a silver lining to every 
cloud." But they could not live upon 
smiles, and cheering words ; and proverbs, 
however true, are as unprofitable as they 
are stale. By degrees, their live stock dimi 



131 

nished ; some strayed, others were shot by 
some wandering riflemen, a few fell sick, 
and a tribe of Indians, who were encamped 
near, did not scruple to lay their hands 
upon such as came within their reach. 
Happily for Nora, these Indians belonged 
to a friendly tribe, otherwise her fear of 
them would have been still greater than it 
was. She could not accustom herself to 
their wild and savage appearance ; and the 
dread seemed mutual, for the Indians sel- 
dom approached the abode of the white 
man. M'Leod had sunk a considerable por- 
tion of his little fortune in the purchase of 
land, stock, &c, trusting to his own indus- 
try and exertions for the future support of 
his family. After a time, then, the destitu- 
tion which the sick imagination of the poor 
Scotchman had so long anticipated, stared 
them in the face. The wife, notwithstand- 



132 

ing her hopeful spirit, began to despond ; 
and her husband's health grew daily worse. 
The feeling of sadness and gloom was a new 
and unaccustomed one to Nora ; so new, 
that at first the unwelcome tenant could 
find no abiding place in her heart. She 
was determined, however, to hope, though 
she saw her husband's face grow paler and 
thinner, day by day ; and she would obsti- 
nately look forward to better times, though 
their supply even of daily food was fast 
dwindling away, and though she saw no 
present means of relief from their distresses. 
Nora ceased not to exert herself for the 
support of those she loved. Night and day 
she toiled ; the garden was dug, and, in an- 
ticipation of future wants, was sown and 
planted by her hand. Neighbours she had 
none ; she was alone in her troubles — not 
a friend to assist, or to advise. Notwith- 



133 

standing all this, Nora still talked hope- 
fully, still boasted of the " silver lining'* 
which was to shine out of the dark cloud 
that hovered over their destinies ; but her 
heart was heavy within her, and her bright 
eyes were often dimmed with tears. 

It was winter, and heavy rains had de- 
luged the country. The log house of the 
M'Leods was surrounded by mud and wet 
grass ; and when, one cold bleak morning, 
Nora opened her door, and gazed for a mo- 
ment abroad, the gloomy prospect struck a 
chill into her heart. A keen northerly 
wind was blowing fierce and strong; it 
came howling through the trees, and scat- 
tering the fallen leaves into her face. Nora 
had not been in bed during the previous 
night ; alarm for her husband, and the care 
which his illness momentarily required, had 
afforded ample employment both for mind 



134 

and body. On a sudden she heard his 
voice calling her name. It appeared to her 
that he spoke in a stronger tone, and she 
hastened to his bed-side full of hope. Alas ! 
for her. She saw his eye lighted up by de- 
lirious fever, and to her terror, perceived 
that reason had deserted its throne ! 

With the strength lent by the fierce 
fever that raged within his veins, he raised 
himself from his bed, and was with diffi- 
culty restrained from rushing towards the 
door. His actions were violent, and he 
heaped bitter imprecations upon her, and 
upon his child. 

At this moment a sound full of horror 
struck upon the mother's ear. There was 
a sudden shriek, and then the fearful shouts 
of fifty savage voices burst loudly, and sud- 
denly forth, startling the echoes for miles 
around. And well did Nora recognize the 



135 

feeble cry she heard. It was the voice of 
her little Jamie who had been playing in the 
garden, in unconscious glee. Quicker than 
thought, she sprang to the door, and gazed 
distractedly on the scene before her. Her 
darling was in the hands of the Indians, of 
Indians, too, whose aspect was totally un- 
known to her. In a moment she guessed 
the truth, and that the dreaded Comanchees 
were upon them ! In vain she struggled to 
free him ; in vain did the child hold up his 
little hands, and implore help from her, who 
never yet had been deaf to his prayers. 
Amidst the stunning sounds of the terrible 
war-whoop, the petted child was held up be- 
fore his mother's eyes, and while she was 
forcibly held back, the scalping knife did its 
revolting office! The bright sunny curls 
were hung at the belt of the savage warrior 
who performed the deed, while the boy was 



136 

flung palpitating, and barely possessed of 
life at the feet of his parent. 

It was now Nora's turn to suffer, and 
another of these relentless savages, speedily 
seized hold of his now unresisting victim. 
Another moment would have decided her 
fate, when the arm of her enemy was ar- 
rested by the appearance of a new actor on 
the scene ; a gaunt form, who (without any 
previous warning) approached the group, 
and attracted the attention of all. 

It was M'Leod, whose wild ravings 
could not be restrained, and who with deli- 
rious unconsciousness of his danger, stalked 
in amongst them. His wild actions, and 
strange gestures sufficiently attested the 
wandering of his mind, and the Indians 
stood appalled. Tall warriors in their fierce 
war paint bent their heads reverently before 
him ; and impressed with the notion of his 



137 

being inspired, and acting under the espe- 
cial protection of the Great Spirit, these 
untamed and revengeful children of the 
forest shrank awe-struck from his presence. 

Slowly and in silence they retreated, and 
ere another minute had elapsed, Nora was 
left alone with the husband who had so un- 
consciously saved her. 

On the ground, on the very spot, where 
he had so lately played in childish glee, 
lay the bleeding body of the dying child. 
Who can describe the feelings of the mother, 
as lifting him in her arms, she tried to hope 
that the outrage he had undergone would 
not prove a mortal injury.* Gently and 
tenderly she laid him on his little bed, and 

* I fear such instances of savage atrocity were not 
rare among the earlier settlers ; on the Mexican frontier 
especially, and on the Northern settlements, where the 
cruel tribe of the Comanchees have so much power, 
such horrid events are matter of history. Cases have 



138 

then, and not till then did she return to her 
painful task of soothing and quieting the in- 
valid. With gentle words she persuaded 
him to return to his bed, but even then she 
could not leave him for a moment. 

At intervals she heard the faint and feeble 
moan of her suffering child, but though the 
mother's heart was torn within her, she 
could not desert her post. Towards the 
evening the sick man became more com- 
posed, his ravings suddenly ceased, his eyes 
closed, and a deathlike calm spread over 
his features. Nora listened, but in vain for 
his breathing, she felt that he was dead, and 
that she was alone ; she did not weep how- 
ever, but sat in a state of stupid insensibility. 
She was roused from this trance of despair, 
by a sound, small and low ; but one which 

been known of recovery after scalping, I myself saw a 
young man at Galveston, who did not appear at all the 
worse for the operation. 



139 

heard can never be forgotten, — the last 
sound of parting breath ! It was small, and 
low, for it was the breath of a little child ; — 
the signal that its pure and innocent spirit 
was about to meet its God ! In a moment 
Nora was by its side, on her knees, implor- 
ing with wild eagerness for its young life, 
and covering its little hands, and face with 
kisses. The struggle was brief, and when 
the mother saw that it was dead she fell 
senseless. She recovered, she knew not how, 
and it seemed as though a fearful dream 
had passed over her. Oh that sad and ter- 
rible awaking after affliction ! The doubt — 
the fear of the reality — and then the gra- 
dual, and overwhelming belief in the worst ! 
Poor Nora felt all this, as gradually she 
roused herself into sense and life. It was 
all true — her child, her first, her only one 
was taken from her. She could not weep, 



140 

hers was a hard tearless grief. On a sud- 
den, however, the thought of her husband 
crossed her mind, and a dim recollection of 
his last sad moments caused her to shudder 
as though body and soul were parting asun- 
der. Mechanically she rose, and approach- 
ing his bed, leant over what she imagined 
the senseless clay of him she loved. Her 
head rested on his breast, when she thought 
— could it be fancy ? that it throbbed slight- 
ly and feebly. Breathlessly she listened. It 
was no delusion — he was alive ! Death 
had not claimed his prey, and he might yet 
recover. Poor Nora ! The eyes which were 
dry when heavy affliction struck her, over- 
flowed in salutary drops under the sudden 
influence of joy. Her first impulse was 
one of deep and overpowering gratitude ; 
but her thankfulness was, like her grief, 
silent, and subdued. She sat down beside 



141 

the bed, and patiently awaited till he should 
awake. For several hours did she watch, by 
her husband's side, and morning was again 
stealing over the sky when he awoke, and 
in feeble accents whispered her name ; his 
reason was restored, and Nora felt that all 
present danger was over. Hours sped by — 
hours spent by the grateful wife in minister- 
ing to his recovery. He was weak as an 
infant, and she dared not tell him of their 
loss, and that their child lay near them, a 
lifeless corpse. 

The next day, after Nora had as usual 
been addressing words of encouragement to 
her patient, and carefully concealing from 
him her own deep distresses, she was startled 
by hearing horses' footsteps approaching 
their abode. In a few minutes a man on 
horseback stopped at the door, and without 
ceremony entered the house. Nora did not 



142 

rise, for the hand of her sleeping husband 
was clasped in hers, while silent tears chased 
each other down her pale cheeks. Her 
baby lay unburied near, and for her feeble 
husband, where was she to find the means 
of recruiting his exhausted strength ? She 
had had but little food for many days, and 
how could she seek for more ? 

She hardly raised her head when the 
stranger entered, so absorbed was she with 
these melancholy reflections. The traveller, 
unconscious of her sorrows, addressed her 
with a cheerful, hearty voice, " good morn- 
ing marm — how's your man ? Ill I do'nt 
doubt — These here diggins arnt wholesome 
any how — I reckon. " Saying this, the 
stranger who was a portly man, of respect- 
able appearance, seated himself without 
ceremony in the chimney corner. Shelter 
is never refused in the Prairie, and to that 



143 

he was welcome ; gladly also would Nora 
have set food in plenty before her guest. 
She gave him, however, of that which she 
had, and the stranger soon learnt the almost 
destitute condition of his young hostess. 

The traveller possessed a kind, and 
friendly heart, and a well filled purse withal. 
Liking the appearance of the young settlers, 
and admiring the order and cleanliness of 
their cottage, he pitied their misfortunes, 
and hastened to procure necessaries and 
comforts for the desolate inhabitants of the 
watery Prairie. Having then cheered the 
sufferers with words of hope, and seen the 
remains of the dead infant decently interred, 
he left them promising to return. Two 
more weeks sped by — M'Leod had left 
his bed, and sat weak and trembling by the 
fire, while Nora, though her thoughts often 
wandered to the grave of her child, looked 



144 

at him with eyes full of gratitude and happi- 
ness. Their talk was of the kind stranger, 
and of their hopes that he would soon re- 
turn. And when, soon after this, they again 
saw his benevolent countenance, and heard 
his loud hearty greeting, what joy was theirs. 
The stranger was a rich landholder and 
cotton grower, and being in want of an 
overseer on whom he could depend, he fixed 
upon M'Leod to fill the office. He gave 
his protdgds a pretty house, located in a 
healthy clearing, not many miles distant 
from their own property. M'Leod was to 
be a man having authority, and they had 
wherewithal to live in comfort and content. 
When Nora entered her new habitation, 
leaning on her husband's arm, she looked 
up in his face, " ah now Jamie," she said, 
" and did'nt I tell you there was a silver 
lining to every cloud." 



CHAPTER VIII. 



ABUNDANCE OF GAME. SEVERE NORTHERS PECULIAR TO 
THE GULF OF MEXICO. GRADUAL ENCROACHMENT OF 
LAND UPON THE SEA. HEAVY SWELL ON THE EAR. 
DIFFERENT CLASSES OF TITLES TO LAND. TEXAS 
PECULIARLY ADAPTED FOR BREEDING STOCK. 



Has heaven reserv'd, in pity to the poor, 
No pathless waste, or undiscover'd shore ? 
No secret island in the boundless main ? 
No peaceful desert yet unclaim'd by Spain ? 

Johnson. 

A few weeks had made a considerable dif- 
ference in the aspect of the country. The 
Prairie was already beginning to put on its 
summer mantle of flowers, and immense 
flocks of migratory birds were darkening the 
air : wild fowl also, and all kinds of game, 
were in much greater abundance than when 

VOL II. H 



146 

we were here last. Mr. Houstoun was de- 
lighted with the snipe shooting, and he was 
tolerably successful, frequently killing ten 
couple in an hour. He was also fortunate 
enough to kill a very rare bird in the coun- 
try, called by the inhabitants the Sand Hill 
crane, which resembles the bustard very 
much, both in appearance and in flavour, 
but is considerably larger. The Sand Hill 
cranes are very difficult to approach, and 
only appear after two or three days of 
severe northers. 

These northers being peculiar to the 
Gulf of Mexico, I must endeavour to de- 
scribe them. They most frequently occur 
after a few days of damp dull weather, 
and generally about once a fortnight. 
Their approach is known by a dark bank 
rising on the horizon, and gradually over- 
spreading the heavens. The storm bursts 



147 

forth with wonderful suddenness and tre- 
mendous violence and generally lasts forty- 
eight hours; the wind after that period 
veers round to the east and southward, and 
the storm gradually abates. During the 
continuance of a norther, the cold is intense, 
and the wind so penetrating, it is almost 
impossible to keep oneself warm. The 
weather is generally clear, and frequently 
the northers are almost unaccompanied by 
rain. The tremendous hurricane that oc- 
curred last September, as it was described 
to us, is calculated to give one the im- 
pression that on some future day the flou- 
rishing city of Galveston may be swept 
away by the overwhelming incursions of 
the sea. On the occasion I have alluded 
to, such was the force of the winds and 
waves, that many houses were turned topsy 
turvy, and some were floated many hundred 



148 

yards from their original position. The 
greater part of the island was also under 
water for many days, and boats were in re- 
quest to go from one house to another. 
Such a storm as this, however, had never 
occurred before in the memory of the oldest 
inhabitant, and some fishermen who had 
been resident there more than twenty years, 
asserted that their previous experience pre- 
sented no parallel for such a destructive 
hurricane. A stronger argument in favour 
of the city never being entirely submerged, 
is the fact that the accumulation of sand, 
which forms the island, continues increas- 
ing, while it is proved beyond a doubt that 
the land is everywhere encroaching on 
the Gulf of Mexico. We saw an excellent 
old Spanish chart of the coast, which was 
made sixty or seventy years ago, and on 
comparing it with our own we found it on all 



149 

important points remarkably accurate. The 
island of Galveston, however, is there repre- 
sented as much smaller than it is at present, 
and Pelican island (a large sand bank in the 
middle of the bay) is entirely omitted. 

There can be little doubt, from the omis- 
sion of Pelican Island in the chart I have re- 
ferred to, and also from the manner in which 
it is known to increase in size, that half a 
century ago it was not in existence. This 
would lead to the supposition that the har- 
bour is gradually filling up, but it is conjec- 
tured by many that as its limits decrease, 
the channel, probably formed by the Trinity 
river, will become deeper. The bar at its 
entrance is said to remain exactly the same, 
though the depth of water on it varies con- 
siderably according to the wind : after se- 
veral days of very strong southerly winds, 
there is frequently as much as fifteen feet of 



150 

water, and the depth, throughout the bay, 
and even up the river, is increased several 
feet. Vessels, however, cannot take advan- 
tage of this circumstance during the conti- 
nuance of the southerly winds, owing to the 
extremely heavy swell on the bar, which, 
notwithstanding the greater depth of water, 
materially increases the chance of a vessel's 
et bumping ; " a term the Americans use 
for touching on the sand banks, and they 
seem to think nothing of it. It is no un- 
common practise to make the crew and 
passengers keep constantly moving in line, 
from one side of the deck to the other, when 
there is not sufficient water to pass a bar 
without <c rolling over " as this proceeding 
is called. We ourselves on one occasion 
assisted at a ceremony of this kind in a 
steamer. 

The best period for entering the harbour 



151 

at Galveston is after a southerly wind has 
been blowing pretty fresh for some days, 
and is then succeeded by a norther. Advan- 
tage should be taken, at the very commence- 
ment of the gale, to pass the bar (as ves- 
sels may lay over the bar with a northerly 
wind) or otherwise, one may almost say, the 
whole of the available water is blown out of 
the bay, and thus the depth on the bar is 
perhaps reduced to less than nine feet. One 
of the evils, arising from the hitherto un- 
settled state of the country, seems to 
be, that the people, instead of attending to 
their domestic affairs and agricultural pur 
suits, have occupied themselves (for want of 
better employment) in making a superabun- 
dance of Laws, and Acts of Congress. There 
are, I do not know how many of these vo- 
lumes already published, and many of them 
are so contradictory, and admit of so many 



152 

interpretations, that it is to be presumed the 
Texan lawyers will never want business. A 
great proportion of these acts of Congress re- 
late to the land laws. 

As I have before mentioned the difficulty 
in getting good titles to land in Texas, I 
shall endeavour to give some account of the 
different descriptions of titles. There are of 
course various opinions on the subject, and 
I can therefore, only give my own, grounded 
upon information received from those, whom 
we considered the best authorities. 

The first titles I shall mention are those 
emanating from the Mexican government ; 
many of these are unconditional and indis- 
putable, and are undoubtedly the best that 
can be found ; there are, however, others, 
originating from the same source, but which 
are generally considered totally invalid, cer- 
tain conditions having been attached to the 



153 

grant, which were never fulfilled by the 
grantee, but this has not prevented many 
from setting up claims on the strength of 
these impresario or contract grants. 

The second class of titles are those ema- 
nating from the government of the Republic 
of Texas : of these there are various kinds, 
and they seem to have been granted so in- 
cautiously, and to have offered at the same 
time so many facilities for fraud and decep- 
tion that at present it is almost impossible 
to pronounce any particular one of these 
titles to be good or bad; that is to say 
if it has not been also patented by govern- 
ment. 

I shall divide the titles emanating from 
the Republic of Texas into four classes. 

First. Those titles granted to all who 
arrived in the country previous to the De- 
claration of Independence. 

H II. 



154 

Second. Titles granted to those who were 
actually present in Texas, at the declara- 
tion of Independence, or who took part in 
the campaign of 1836. 

Third. Titles, the headrights of colonists 
who have arrived in the country, and have 
become citizens at various periods, since the 
declaration of Independence. 

Fourth. Titles created by the issuing of 
Government Scrip. 

Of these four classes of Texas titles, the 
first is probably the best, as it is the earliest 
in date. With regard to the second class, 
it is only necessary to say, that within a 
very short period, fifteen thousand indivi- 
duals had each claimed, and taken posses- 
sion of his league of land, which, by the Act 
of Congress, every person who participated 
in the struggle for independence, was enti- 
tled to. Now it is well known that, at the 



155 

period alluded to, there were certainly not 
five thousand fighting men in the whole 
country ; and the fact was, that thousands 
of adventurers had, immediately after the 
act was passed, flocked in from the United 
States, secured titles to land under false 
pleas, and forthwith returned to America. 
This was easily effected by representing 
themselves as having been long in the coun- 
try, and in the confusion which prevailed at 
the moment, the imposition could not be 
detected. A commission was subsequently 
appointed by government for the purpose 
of enquiring into the validity of these titles, 
and their number was soon reduced from 
fifteen thousand to five thousand. Those, 
whose claims were approved of, received 
patents for their land ; but the remaining 
ten thousand titles were pronounced utterly 
fraudulent. It is notorious, that many of 



156 

these forged titles to land in Texas, still 
continue to be sold in the United States. 

The third and fourth classes of titles may 
both be considered good, if the original pos- 
sessor was undoubtedly the first to "locate 
on," and register the lands selected. There 
is a land office for this purpose in each dis- 
trict, but from the careless and informal 
manner in which the registers have some- 
times been kept, and also from the frequent 
change of surveyors, I am informed that it 
has often happened, notwithstanding all pos- 
sible precautions, that the same land has 
been surveyed, and what is called " lo- 
cated," by two or three claimants, one after 
another. If the titles, however, be pa- 
tented by the government, these accidents 
are not likely to occur. To account also, 
in some measure, for the numerous disputes 
concerning titles to land in Texas, I must 



157 

observe, that in a country so ill surveyed., 
and frequently so deficient in land-marks, 
(particularly if the seller be dishonest) it is 
not always an easy matter to discover the 
exact position of the estate which is indi- 
cated by the title you have purchased ; and 
it is by no means improbable that you may 
"squat" on some other person's domain, 
your own being perhaps some miles distant. 
The rightful owner of the land you have 
thus unwittingly appropriated, is perhaps 
resident at New York, and does not think 
fit to acquaint you with your mistake, till 
you have built a house, &c, or perhaps laid 
out the plan of a city. The latter pro- 
ceeding being already as common in Texas 
as it is in the United States. 

I have now endeavoured to explain the 
difficulties which exist, in regard to pro- 
curing titles to land in this country. Many 



158 

such as I have described may be purchased 
all over the United States, and even in 
London, but from what I could learn, all 
such should be abstained from. It must 
not, however, be supposed that good and safe 
titles to land are unattainable. On the con- 
trary, with proper care and caution, they 
may be obtained in the country, with a 
good government patent, and with indis- 
putable right. I believe, too, that the 
money paid will be trifling compared with 
that which would be expended for the same 
purpose any where else in the world. It 
ought to be remembered, among its other 
advantages, that Texas comprises an extent 
of country as large as France, and that half 
its lands are still unappropriated. One of 
the evils attendant on settling in Texas, at 
least one that it has been accused of, is that 
" aliens" cannot hold land in Texas. In 



159 

regard to some land titles, this is certainly 
true ; but the difficulty may be entirely ob- 
viated by a foreigner spending six months 
in the country. This trifling expenditure 
of time, which may be very usefully em- 
ployed, confers the right of citizenship, and 
enables a stranger to hold land on the 
same footing as the Texan. It should also 
be added, that in the case of an alien hold- 
ing land, the only party proceeding against 
him would be the government; and such 
an opponent has so rarely started up in 
any country, that not much fear need be 
entertained on that score. Apparently no 
country can be more admirably adapted 
for breeding purposes, in the case of mules 
and horses, and it is supposed that it 
would be an extremely good speculation to 
export the latter from Texas, where they 
may be bought for thirty dollars, to Ha- 



160 

vanna, where their price is from two hun- 
dred and fifty to five hundred dollars. The 
passage thither occupies about four or five 
days ; and there is but little question, that 
if the Spanish government were so far to 
overcome its feelings against Mexico, as to 
acknowledge the independence of Texas, 
Cuba would become a great market for 
Texan produce of every kind. 



CHAPTER IX. 



HISTORY AND CHARACTER OP GENERAL HOUSTON, 
PRESIDENT OP TEXAS. RUN FOR THE PRESIDENCY. 
WHITTLING. DISCOMFORT OF TRAVELLING IN TEXAS. 



For forms of government let fools contest ; 

Whate'er is best administer'd is best : 

For modes of faith, let graceless zealots fight ; 

His can't be wrong whose life is in the right ; 

In faith and hope the world will disagree, 

But all mankind's concern is charity : 

All must be false that thwarts this one great end ; 

And all of God, that bless mankind, or mend. 

Pope. 

As we intend shortly making an excursion 
up the country, and if possible paying 
our respects to the celebrated President, 
General Houston, I think that a short 
account of the history and character of 
the latter may not be unacceptable. Of 
the talents of this remarkable man, there 



162 

can, and does, exist but one opinion ; but 
there is, nevertheless, a strong party against 
him. From the want of other objects to 
occupy their time and attention, a large 
proportion of the people amuse themselves 
by abusing him, both in his public and pri- 
vate capacity. The impossibility of a go- 
vernor of a country pleasing and satisfying 
all parties, is every where acknowledged ; 
and the want of national funds under which 
the republic at present labours, greatly 
increases the difficulty. Every instance of 
adversity, and every deficiency of dollars, 
is attributed at once to the President's mis- 
management or cupidity. The latter charge 
is so strange, and so utterly unfounded, 
that it finds but few believers. There 
are several other causes of complaint 
against him. The principal one is, his 
avowed dislike to going to war, which, 



163 

in common with all people who have 
but little to lose, is a favourite pas- 
time with the Texans. The advice of the 
President to his countrymen, — " stay at 
home, gentlemen, look after your flocks and 
herds, and sow corn," — meets but little sym- 
pathy from his fellow-citizens. Another 
cause of his unpopularity with the fighting 
party, is his opposition to the existence 
of a navy in Texas ; the President con- 
tending, that they have no use for ships, 
and that the support of a navy is a useless 
incumbrance to the republic. American 
sympathizers and loafers are objects of his 
especial enmity ; and with reason, for no 
persons are so much to be feared. They 
are people who go about in search of pro- 
miscuous plunder, and it matters nothing to 
them, whether friend or enemy falls a victim 
to their rapacity. If nothing is to be made 



164 

of the Mexicans, they turn upon the Texans 
in search of prey. 

It is well known that the Mexicans, in 
general, are not well disposed towards 
Santa Anna, whose military despotism is ill 
calculated to conciliate their regard ; and it 
is not difficult to believe that, were they left 
to themselves, they would be friendly to- 
wards the Texans. As a proof of this, in 
the late campaign on the frontier, most 
energetic proceedings, conducted with beau- 
tiful military skill, were made by the 
Texans for the attack of Mier. Fire eating 
parties of warlike citizens, armed and capa- 
risoned, advanced simultaneously at three 
different points of attack, resolved to con- 
quer or to die. What was their surprise to 
find that they had wasted all this valuable 
energy and courage without necessity. No 
opposition was made by the Mexicans to 



165 

their entrance, but on the contrary, they 
were received in the most friendly manner, 
and invited to eat, drink, and refresh them- 
selves. The return made by the invaders 
for the kindness with which they were 
treated, was ungrateful indeed. In the 
dead of the night, they commenced plunder- 
ing, and appropriating to themselves every 
thing they could lay their hands on. 

These men were loafers — the dangerous 
and unprincipled set of people of whom 
General Houston is so anxious to free the 
country. One of the few respectable indi- 
viduals who took part in the expedition told 
us, that they were heartily ashamed of being 
there, and, for his own part, he felt " dread- 
ful small" on the occasion. But to return 
to the character of the President. Old Sam, 
as he is universally called, is, I believe, 
a native of Kentucky, and was educated for 



166 

the law. He distinguished himself highly at 
the United States bar, and married an Ame- 
rican lady possessed of great personal at- 
tractions. Differences subsequently arose 
between himself and his wife, the causes 
of which are not known, and as divorces 
are easily obtained in this country, where 
mutual irritability is alone sufficient to es- 
tablish grounds for entire separation, Gene- 
ral Houston took advantage of this facility. 
To judge from his subsequent conduct, he 
must have felt his domestic bereavement se- 
verely, and it seems to have been long be- 
fore he recovered from its effects. In the 
year 1828, in a fit of disgust and despair, 
as it is supposed, he took up his abode 
among a distant tribe of Indians, I believe 
the Cherokees. He spent several years 
among them, conforming himself to their 
habits, and even outdoing them in some of 




f ~ j iL §11 IfEIL BLCD L I 






167 

their acts of daring and adventure. He is 
said to have taken to himself a squaw ; but 
let it be remembered that this is only hear- 
say evidence, and I do not vouch for its 
veracity. It is commonly related, that at 
this period of his life, and in the society of 
these primitive bon vivans, General Hous- 
ton grew so attached to the dram bottle, 
that the Indians bestowed on him the so- 
briquet of " drunken Sam. " Having now 
said all the evil, if such it can be called, 
of his character we must turn to the bright 
side. General Houston's bravery is w r orthy 
of the boldest days of chivalry ; his patriot- 
ism sincere and unquestioned, and his in- 
tegrity without a stain. His talents as a 
legislator are of a high order, and should 
those that are against him succeed in elect- 
ing a President who is opposed to him in 
politics, they will find him most formidable in 



168 

opposition. When we consider how mainly 
instrumental the President has been in se- 
curing their independence., we are the more 
surprised that he should have enemies 
among his own people. In the enumera- 
tion of his qualities, we should, however, no- 
tice, that he is caustic and severe ; and that 
his superior talents render him, perhaps, 
not sufficiently lenient to the faults and 
weakness of others ; circumstances which 
may, in some measure, account for his un- 
popularity. 

General Houston has lately married again, 
and his wife is said to be an accomplished 
and exemplary person. She possesses great 
influence over the President, and uses it 
with judgment and moderation. Owing to 
her admirable advice, General Houston 
has broken through those habits of drinking 
and swearing, which were formerly blots 



169 

on his character, and the latter of which 
injured his health. He is a man of edu- 
cation, and; besides being well read in po- 
lite literature, appreciates the elegant and 
standard authors of our country. 

Whenever the President travels through 
the country, it is at the expense of the per- 
sons at whose houses he puts up, and when 
he makes use of a steamer he has the pri- 
vilege of a free passage. I believe that 
during his public career, General Houston 
has neither saved nor made a dollar; on 
the contrary, he is said to be often in pecu- 
niary difficulties. As a proof how con- 
vinced the people are of his integrity, in 
regard to not having amassed a fortune 
from the public funds, it may be men- 
tioned, that not long ago, being in want of a 
little tobacco, and not having wherewith to 
purchase it, he could not obtain credit, 

vol. n. j 



170 

Parties are much divided, and the opi- 
nions of the people are showing themselves 
in various ways, on the subject of the elec- 
tion of the next President. It is the pre- 
vailing topic of conversation ; indeed, it 
seems to me, that both in the United 
States and Texas, this sort of excitement is 
so popular, that no sooner is a President 
elected, than there commences all the ex- 
citement of canvassing for, and choosing 
his successor. At the present moment, there 
are several persons who are about to u run," 
as they call it, for the Presidency. General 
Houston has bitter enemies ; but he has 
likewise warm friends and partizans, who 
are among the best and most influential of 
the people; it is, therefore, not probable 
that the choice of a successor in the go- 
vernment will fall upon any one inimical to 
him, or decidedly adverse to his line of po- 



171 

licy. Without using any undue means 
to make himself popular, the President is 
courteous and polite to persons of all 
ranks ; and, though I believe a Tory at 
heart, makes no difference in his civility 
of manner, to any parties or factions. The 
House of Assembly at Washington is open 
to the street ; it has no windows, and any 
one may look in who pleases. General 
Houston's greeting to the free citizens — 
carters, or blacksmiths, as the case may be 
— is always equally kind and polite. It is, 
" How d'ye do, Colonel ? How 's Madam ? 
Bad weather for the ladies ! " 

During this time, and while public bu- 
siness was under discussion, the honourable 
members of Congress were to be seen seated 
on candle boxes and sugar casks ; in short, 
on any thing they could find ; and each man 
was whittling away without intermission. 



172 

A piece of wood is placed before each 
senator, who, were it not for this necessary 
precaution, would very soon, in common 
with his honourable friends, cut the table 
to pieces. No sooner is a member seated, 
than he takes out his knife, and never 
leaves off cutting away, whether speaking 
or silent. 

A great deal, certainly, is done with 
wood, besides the national amusement of 
whittling it away. It is invariably used 
for building ; and the celerity with which 
they erect both churches and houses, is, as 
I have before remarked, wonderful. A 
troop of Franconi's horses, at least their 
owners called them such, on their way from 
Mexico to the United States, were at pre- 
sent amusing the good citizens of Galveston 
by their performances. In a day, there was 
built for them quite a large temporary 



173 

theatre for the exercise of their ma- 
noeuvres. Though some of the houses 
have a certain air of exterior neatness and 
decoration, yet comfort, at least domestic 
household comfort, is quite unknown in 
this country. The north winds blow 
through and through their paper houses, 
and they heed it not ; while carpets, well 
made beds, and all such necessaries of life, 
are unknown or despised. The traveller in 
Texas must set out prepared for every spe- 
cies of discomfort ; his bed 3 if he should 
happen to procure one, will be disputed, or, 
if he should happen to prefer a compromise, 
perhaps shared, by some other traveller. 
The late Charge d'Affaires of his French 
Majesty, chanced to be travelling up the 
country, in this primitive republic. He was 
fresh from the luxuries and agrdmens of a 
Paris life, not among the least of which may 



174 

be reckoned the comfortable beds which 
are every where to be enjoyed. To this 
agreeable mode of existence, Texas, and 
its numerous inconveniences, must have 
formed a striking contrast. On arriving at 
one of the halting places at night, he re- 
tired to what he doubtless imagined would 
be a solitary couch ; and though the winds 
of heaven were whistling through his log- 
built chamber, and the bright stars peeping 
through the roof, the fatigue of the journey 
soon closed his eyes in slumber. He had 
not, however, slept many minutes, when he 
was awoke by the entrance of a most for- 
midable looking individual. It was a stout 
Kentuckian, duly armed with bowie knife 
and pistols ; and who, while in the act of 
disencumbering himself of his upper gar- 
ments, said, in a coarse, but not unfriendly 
voice, M Well, stranger, I guess I'll take the 



175 

inside of the bed, if it's the same to you ? " 
I believe the Parisian preferred passing the 
night on the floor, to the misfortune of 
having a Yankee between the wall and his 
nobility. 

No innkeeper in this country would ever 
dream of sending away a traveller on the 
plea of want of room, as long as one bed 
remained in his house unoccupied, except 
by two men. It was with a perfect know- 
ledge of the difficulties and inconveniences 
that awaited us, that we made up our 
minds to undertake an excursion up the 
country, and we were therefore prepared 
for all contingencies. I may here remark 
that, on a previous occasion, when I ac- 
companied Mr. Houstoun on a fishing and 
shooting excursion to the mainland, I could 
not help thinking, how extremely eligible is 
this country for railroads. As far as I 



176 

could see, and I was told it was the same 
for miles, the horizon was only bounded by 
the flat, and pathless prairie. Oh! that 
such advantages of locomotion were now 
at hand ! But then, though unquestionably 
we should have been spared many of the 
small and tedious troubles of the route, we 
should also have been deprived of the 
pleasure of seeing a remarkable country 
in its primeval state, and we should also 
have lost in interest, what we should have 
gained in luxury and comfort. The weather 
was extremely cold, and sharp northers 
were chilling us with their ungenial breath, 
but we were too anxious to see something 
more of the country, to be easily dissuaded 
from our purpose. 

The corps diplomatique were engaged to 
join our party, and the arrangements re- 
quired for the undertaking being few and 



177 

simple, we fixed an early day, and forthwith 
took our places in the steamer bound up 
the Buffaloe Bayon to Houston. 



i li. 



CHAPTER X. 



COMMENCEMENT OF AN EXCURSION UP THE COUNTRY. 
THE HOUSTON STEAMER. HER PASSENGERS. THE 
TOWN OF HOUSTON. TAVERN FARE AT HOUSTON. 
START FOR THE PRAIRIE. 



Give allowance to our liberal jests 
Upon their persons — 

Beaumont and Fletcher. 

Where highest woods impenetrable 

To sun or starlight, spread their umbrage broad 

And brown as evening. 

Milton. 

It was about two o'clock in the afternoon of 
a bright frosty day, that we put ourselves 
on board the Houston steamer — Captain 
Kelsey. She was a small vessel, and drew 
but little water, a circumstance very neces- 
sary in these small rivers. The American 
river steamers differ very much in appear- 



179 

ance from those to which an European eye 
is accustomed. They have the appearance 
of wooden houses, built upon a large raft ; 
there is a balcony or verandah, and on the 
roof is what is called the hurricane deck, 
where gentlemen passengers walk and smoke. 
On the occasion of our taking our passage 
both ladies and gentlemen's cabin were quite 
full, and I therefore preferred spending the 
evening in the balcony in spite of the cold. 
I had many kind offers of civility, but I could 
not help being amused at the terms in which 
some of them were couched. The question 
addressed to me of " do you liquor, ma'am" 
was speedily followed by the production of 
a tumbler of egg-noggy, which seemed in 
great request, and I cannot deny its excel- 
lence ; I believe the British Navy claims the 
merit of its invention, but this is matter of 
dispute. 



180 

We dined soon after our arrival on board 
and found every body very orderly and civil ; 
certainly there was a strange mixture of 
ranks, but this made it more amusing to a 
stranger. The ladies, during dinner, were 
very silent, though the noise I had heard 
them making in their own cabin, five minutes, 
before was deafening. The supper consist- 
ed of alternate dishes of boiled oysters, and 
beef steaks, of which there was plenty, and 
the latter disappeared in marvellously quick 
time between the strong jaws of the Texan 
gentlemen. I confess to preferring meat 
which has been kept somewhat more than 
an hour, especially in frosty weather. On 
one occasion our dinner was delayed for 
some time, while the cook went on shore 
and " shot a beef." 

There was fortunately water enough for 
us to cross Red Fish Bar, and we were fast 



181 

steaming up Buffalo River. For a con- 
siderable distance from the mouth, the shores 
are low, flat and swampy, but as the stream 
narrowed there were high banks, and the 
trees were quite beautiful in spite of the 
season, which was extremely unfavourable 
to foliage and woody scenery. Such mag- 
nolias — eighty feet in height, and with a 
girth like huge forest trees, — what must 
they be when in full blossom ! There were 
also a great number and variety of ever- 
greens, laurel, bay, and firs, rhododendrons, 
cistus, and arbutus. It seemed one vast 
shrubbery ; the trees and shrubs grew to a 
prodigious height, and often met over the 
steamer, as she wound through the short 
reaches of this most lovely stream. 

It was late when I retired to my cabin, for 
the scene, lighted by a clear frosty moon, 
was so beautiful, and to me so novel, that I 



182 

could not make up my mind to leave it. I 
had expected to be much annoyed by the 
noise of the high pressure engine ; to that, 
however, I soon became accustomed, but, 
on the other hand, of all the sounds I ever 
heard, that of the negro slaves carolling out 
their nightly songs was the most dismal and 
unearthly. They were seated, some on the 
hurricane deck and others at their work, 
but all joining in the same loud, weary, 
monotonous chaunt. The young girls have 
generally beautiful figures, and are as straight 
and upright as young pines : in the ladies 
cabin especially there was one very pretty 
bright-eyed black girl, who seemed full of 
fun and good humour. 

My berth opened out of the state cabin, 
and as the only partition was a Venetian 
door, I could not avoid hearing all the con- 
versation that was carried on by my neigh- 



183 

bours. Cards and drinking constituted no 
inconsiderable part of the pleasures of the 
evening, but with all the excitement of talk, 
tobacco chewing, and brandy, I never heard 
people more orderly and reasonable. Their 
talk as usual was of dollars : politics, in- 
deed, occasionally took their turn, but the 
subject ceased to become interesting, when 
the pockets of the company could no longer 
be affected by the turn of affairs. There 
was no private scandal, no wit, no literature, 
no small talk ; all was hard, dry, calculating 
business. I heard many shrewd hard-headed 
remarks ; the fate of their country was talked 
over as a matter of business, and one rather 
important looking gentleman made a stump 
speech on the expediency of Texas becom- 
ing a colony of Great Britain ! I do not 
know the orator's name, but General or 
Colonel he must have been. Military titles 



184 

are taken and given here with as little cere- 
mony as the title of Count on the Continent : 
Mr. Houstoun sprang into a General at 
once. 

There was a Baptist preacher on board, a 
thin, weary looking man, with a cast in his 
eye, which was very comical. He had fought 
for his country, and though now a man of 
peace, delighted in displaying his knowledge 
of military matters. He was going to Hous- 
ton to establish a school for young gentle- 
men, while his wife was to superintend the 
education of their sisters. This he said 
he was induced to do, that his boys might 
not mix with their inferiors ; he could not 
bear, he added, that his sons should be ac- 
quainted with vulgar boys, which they were 
obliged to do at Galveston, but he did'nt 
like it, and now at his school, he could 
choose the boys ! Exclusiveness here ! 



185 

Where shall we look for a country where 
the real charitable feelings of equality ex- 
ist ? I may remark that my maid was obliged 
to wait till all these people had done their 
meals, because, I was told they did not like 
her to eat at the same table. — Strange in- 
consistency ! but one that sufficiently shews 
the futility of any attempt to introduce a 
perfect system of equality in any country. 
It exists in America but in name. 

I shall not easily forget the night I passed 
on the Buffalo River ; there was card play- 
ing going on in both cabins, and occasionally 
I heard a card put down with a smart slap, 
and then " I guess now, that's the way to 
do business/' and from another " now sir 
I've made an operation I expect." In the 
ladies cabin, where a few favoured indivi- 
duals of the other sex had the good fortune 
to be admitted, it was " ah Miss Delia, I see 



186 

the giraffe a'head, I do." And then a young 
gentleman played "Auld lang syne" with 
variations on the violin, followed by " The 
Boatie rows/' sung with tremendous ap- 
plause by a young Scotchman with a fine 
bass voice, which would have been too 
much for Westminster Abbey. 

At seven o'clock in the morning we ar- 
rived at the pretty town of Houston ; it is 
built on high land, and the banks, which are 
covered with evergreens, rise abruptly from 
the river. There are plenty of inns at 
Houston, such as they are, and we took up 
our quarters at the " Houston House," a 
large shambling wooden building, kept by 
a Captain or Colonel Baldwin, one of the 
most civil, obliging people I ever saw. We 
had a sitting room which was weather proof, 
though to keep out the intense cold was 
impossible. It was said that our landlord 



187 

was anxious to add to the comforts of his 
house, but he had a great many bad debts ; 
it was, he told us, a losing concern alto- 
gether ; more went out than came in, and 
only that morning, having asked a gentle- 
man to pay his bill, the reply was, " If you 

come to insult me again sir, by I'll 

shoot you sir." We went down to break- 
fast in the public room ; the food consisted 
of tough beef-steaks, each as large as a good 
sized dish, eggs hardly warmed through, 
and emptied over the meat, and squirrels ; 
each guest did not remain more than fiye 
minutes, and on his retiring, his place was 
immediately filled by another hungry tra- 
veller. I looked on in silent wonder at 
their extraordinary powers of mastication ; 
one old man in particular, in a green baize 
coat, outdid all the rest. I could not have 
believed any human being could have con- 



188 

trived to stow away such a cargo of " dry 
goods " in so short a time. 

The weather had by this time changed, 
and a cold sleety rain was falling. It was 
not promising weather for sport, but Mr* 
Houstoun was determined to try his luck, 
and the whole soctitt of the place kindly 
offered to accompany him on his expedition* 
Off they all set, on raw boned high trotting 
horses, guns on their shoulders, and exhibit- 
ing every variety of strange costume. As 
to any sport they had, they might as well 
have remained at home ; the only event of 
the day being the breaking of our doctor's 
bridle, upon which his horse ran away, and 
he was thrown, happily, however, without 
receiving any injury. Houston, proud as 
the Texans are of it as a city, does not bear 
a close inspection ; there is but one brick 
house in it, and I could not quite make out 



189 

what its inhabitants meant when they talked 
of it as a great city : — " the poetry of the 
coontry sir, is Houston ;" a very incompre- 
hensible panegyric certainly. 

Our dinner we had in private. The hotel 
was, as the landlord said, " in a fix," but 
our fare was not bad of its kind, there being 
" pork dodgers" and " dough doings," (corn 
bread) chicken fixings^ and sausages. Ros- 
setta, a negress with rings on every finger, 
waited upon us, and a hideous creature she 
was : Jerry, too, the black porter, and a 
great thief, assisted. The tea was made in 
a huge kettle. We retired to rest fatigued 
enough. A piercing norther was blowing 
and whirling wildly round the fragile house, 
and forcing its way through the cracks and 
crannies, and putting out both fire and 
candle ; the cold also was more intense 
than anything I ever before experienced. 



190 

The whole town was in a state of excite- 
ment, for the Mexicans, who had recently 
entered Bexar, and had marched off all 
its inhabitants as prisoners, were hourly 
expected. During the night there was a 
cry that they were at hand, but it proved 
only a false alarm. We were disturbed 
too in the course of the night by the 
importunities of an unfortunate man, who 
could not find a bed, and who kept knock- 
ing at all our doors, saying he was very 
cold and must come in. He was what the 
landlord called a " rowdy loafer ;" not a 
pleasant companion, as it is by these people, 
and by these alone (who are not Texans be 
it said) that gouging and bowie knifing are 
practised. Our ceiling was of canvass, and 
in the night we were obliged to " fix * an 
umbrella over the bed, while I watched the 
feet of a restless cat as she wandered over our 



191 

heads ; her paws finding their way through 
the holes, which time had worn in our sail 
cloth covering. 

The prairie, as I have said, was in a very 
bad state for travelling. Roads, it is well 
known, there were none, and u plumbing 
the track," namely, tracing the path of 
former travellers, is at all times difficult ; 
however, we were resolved to see some- 
thing of the country, and therefore hired a 
waggon for the purpose, drawn by two 
stout horses, and set off, in spite of wind 
and weather. 

On leaving Houston, we ascended a hill so 
steep, as to seem almost impossible for a 
carriage, however light, to be drawn up it. 
Stumps of trees were left in the middle of 
the path, which lies through a thick forest. 
The trees are mostly evergreens, magnolia, 
bay, laurel, and cypress, and the forest 



192 

itself has the appearance of an ornamental 
shrubbery on a gigantic scale. Notwith- 
standing the severe cold, the ground was 
beginning to be enamelled with flowers. 
There were violets, and a small flower like 
a jessamine, but growing close to the 
ground : there were both blue and white. 
I saw, also, various salvias, and many 
other plants and flowers, of which, not being 
a botanist, I can give no account. It was 
quite gladdening, after having been debarred 
so long a time from the sight of trees, to find 
oneself journeying through such woods as 
these. I began to think that the name of 
" Happy hunting-grounds" was not mis- 
applied. Texas signifies, in the Indian 
tongue, these endearing and happy sound- 
ing words ; and I believe that those parts of 
the republic, where the Indians still abide, 
are the most worthy of the appellation. 



CHAPTER XL 



SCENERY OF THE PRAIRIE. FREE AND EASY MAN- 
NERS OF THE INNKEEPER'S SON. INDIANS OF THE 
LIPAN TRIBE. LETTER OF CONDOLENCE TO THE LI- 
PANS ON THE DEATH OF THEIR CHIEF. 



In distant wilds, by human eye unseen 

She rears her flowers, and spreads her velvet green, 

Pure gurgling rills, the lovely desert trace, 

And waste their music on the savage race. 

Young. 

Here to the houseless child of want 
The door is open still, 

Goldsmith. 

The birds here are many and various. 
Cardinals, blackbirds, with bright red 
wings, mocking-birds, and woodpeckers of 
every hue, are the most common. As you 
advance into the interior, the woods be- 
come less thick, and the country is more 

VOL. II. k 



194 

open. It is, in fact,, a prairie, slightly roll- 
ing, and diversified with frequent clumps of 
trees, so tastefully arranged by the hand of 
nature, that you could imagine yourself in 
a finely kept English park, where landscape 
gardeners and studiers of the picturesque 
had expended their utmost skill in beauti- 
fying the scenery. Where the clumps of 
trees are at a considerable distance from 
each other, I was strongly reminded of 
some parts of Windsor Forest. We saw 
great quantities of cattle grazing, and some 
sheep ; these latter, I was told, are consi- 
dered very profitable stock ; they sell at 
from three to four dollars each, and the 
following manner of preventing them from 
straying struck me as ingenious. In the 
month of March, the long prairie grass is 
set on fire. Where sheep are to graze, the 
fire is confined to small patches, and as 



195 

they do not roam into the high grass, they 
keep eating down that which has been 
burnt, till the owner thinks it expedient to 
prepare another spot for them in a similar 
manner. 

At our inn, one night, the master's son, 
after setting our dinner on the table, coolly 
advanced his chair to the fire, observing it 
was cold, and added, " Well, Gen'ral now, 
where did you go to ; tell us now ; I guess 
you found it cold. You haven't fixed any 
game, any how." How surprised we should 
be in England at such familiarity as this ; 
but here, you see at once the absurdity 
of either showing or feeling annoyance, 
as it is evident they are so very far from 
intending incivility ; they are, moreover, 
so genuinely kind, that I, for one, felt in- 
clined to take every thing as it was meant 
— in good part. An Englishman certainly 



196 

feels, when he pays for his room at an inn, 
that even the landlord has no right to enter 
it; but he must divest himself of these 
peculiarities here. In other respects, the 
resting-places for the night are as com- 
fortable as goodwill and hospitality can 
make them. It is often difficult to per- 
suade the worthy host to accept any remu- 
neration ; and we were told by an English- 
man, who had been in every part of the coun- 
try, that he had often known, when a tra- 
veller was not possessed of much ready 
cash, a good song, or a budget of news, in- 
vented or remembered, would be taken in 
payment for a night's lodging and an ample 
meal. Read this, rich men, who live in re- 
fined and populous cities ; eat the dinner 
which has cost you as much as would have 
nourished a score of hungry wanderers; 
but when vou have done, reflect on the 



197 

humble lodging in the desert, where, out of 
little at least something is given. 

About this time, I made acquaintance 
with an Indian of the Lipan tribe, who 
came with a rabbit to sell to me. Some of 
his tribe were in a camp at no great distance. 
I was alone when he entered, and he eyed 
me evidently with fear and suspicion. Poor 
people, they have no reason either to like 
or respect the whites ; and I did not won- 
der at his suspicion, though I did at his 
alarm. He was about eighteen years old, 
very gypsy-looking, with an eye singularly 
wild and piercing. He was dressed like a 
hunter, with a leather pouch, cow's horn 
for powder, a knife, and a whistle. His 
clothing was scanty enough. It was a long 
time before he would approach me, and 
seemed to have a great dislike to allowing 
me to touch his accoutrements. He had 



198 

his rabbit in his arms, and contrived to 
make me understand, by putting up his 
ringers, that he wanted two bits, about ten- 
pence, for it. Having paid him the money, 
I poured out a glass of sherry, which I of- 
fered him, but he refused it with a look of 
disgust, and again retreated to his corner. 
Knowing the fondness of an Indian for spi- 
rits, I concluded he was afraid it was poi- 
soned. I was right in my supposition, for 
immediately afterwards, on seeing me put 
my lips to the glass, he rushed to me, 
seized it from my hand, and drank it off. 
He was a good specimen of his kind, and I 
was very glad to have had this interview 
with him. 

The tribe of Indians, to which my ac- 
quaintance belonged, is not one of any im- 
portance, and their numbers have been 
much weakened by their wars with the Co- 



199 

manchees, of whom they are the hereditary- 
enemies. It is much to be hoped that 
these wars with the Indians will be soon 
put a stop to in Texas. The " happy hunt- 
ing grounds/' indeed, can never be what 
they once were, to these poor people ; yet 
peace, and freedom from oppression, they 
have a right to hope for, and General 
Houston, who interests himself much in 
their civilization and well being, has on 
every occasion proved himself their friend 
and protector. A meeting of the tribes was 
to be held shortly, at the Wacco village, 
on the Brazos, situated about two hundred 
miles above Washington, for the purpose 
of making treaties of alliance both be- 
tween the whites and among themselves. 
The President is to meet them there, and 
much was expected, both from his inti- 
mate knowledge of Indian habits and cha- 



200 

racter, and from the respect in which he is 
held by the tribes. Some of his addresses 
to them are curious enough. I shall tran- 
scribe one of the latest, being a letter of 
condolence to the Lipans, on the death of 
their chief. 

To the Chief of the Lipans. 

Executive Department, Washington, 
March 26, 1843. 

My Brother, 

My heart is sad ! — A dark cloud rests 
upon your nation. Grief has sounded in 
your camp. The voice of Flaco is silent. 
His words are not heard in council. The 
chief is no more ; his eyes are closed. His 
heart no longer leaps at the sight of the 
buffalo ! The voices of your camp are no 
longer heard to cry, Flaco has returned 
from the chase ! Your chiefs look down 
on the earth, and groan in trouble. The 



201 

warriors weep — - the loud voice of grief is 
heard from your women and children. The 
song of birds is silent. The ear of your 
people hears no pleasant sound. Sorrow 
whispers in the winds. The noise of the 
tempest passes : it is not heard : your 
hearts are heavy. 

The name of Flaco brought joy to ail 
hearts. Joy was on every face ! Your 
people were happy. Flaco is no longer 
seen in the fight : his voice is no longer 
heard in battle. The enemy no longer 
makes a path for his glory. His valour is 
no longer a guard for your people. The 
right arm of your nation is broken. Flaco 
was a friend to his white brothers : they 
will not forget him. They will remember 
the red warrior : his father will not be for- 
gotten. We will be kind to the Lipans. 
Grass shall not grow in the path between 



202 

us. Let your wise men give the counsel of 
peace. Let your young men walk in the 
white path. The gray-headed men of your 
nation will teach wisdom. I will hold my 
red brothers by the hand. 

Thy brother, 

Sam. Houston. 

The landlord of the inn came in soon 
after the departure of the Indian, and 
" fixed the rabbit" for me, as he called it. 
This was merely putting it into a box, with 
holes in it. I kept the poor little animal 
some time, in memory of my wild acquaint- 
ance, but soon after we returned to the 
Dolphin he escaped, and I heard no more 
of him. We had some excellent wild tur- 
kies up the country ; which were much 
better than the tame. On the whole, we 
enjoyed our inland visit, which we ex- 



203 

tended in various directions about Houston. 
In regard to the sport, or rather in the ab- 
sence of it, the gentlemen of the party 
were disappointed ; and we began to think 
that the quantity of game up the country, 
and the ease with which it was said to be 
procured, were rather overrated. The want 
of success., however, might, perhaps, be 
fairly attributed to the badness of the wea- 
ther. 



CHAPTER XII. 



DANGERS OF TRAVELLING IN THE PRAIRIE. LAST EVEN- 
ING AT HOUSTON. SEVERE FROST. RETURN FROM 
HOUSTON TO GALVESTON. THE OPOSSUM. POLITICAL 
CONFERENCES AND DISCUSSION ON THE SLAVE TRADE. 
SLAVE-OWNERS SUFFERERS BY ITS CONTINUANCE. 



In a strange land 
Such things, however trivial, reach the heart, 
And thro' the heart the head, clearing away 
The narrow notions that grow up at home, 
And in their place grafting good-will to all ; 
At least I found it so. 

Rogers. 

The city of Houston was our head quarters 
during our stay up the country, and greatly 
did we regret that the state of the prairie, 
owing to the constant and heavy rains, 
prevented our travelling as far as Washing- 
ton, which city we had intended to have 
visited. The scarcity and indifference of the 



205 

accommodations would not have deterred 
us from such an undertaking, but, in a 
country where roads do not exist, it is diffi- 
cult not to lose one's way. The danger is 
considerably increased when the trail of 
previous travellers is obliterated by the rains, 
for, plumbing the track, the Texan term 
for tracing a road, is, at all times, a slow 
and tedious operation. Between Houston 
and Washington there is a certain space of 
two miles, which, when we were in the 
country, was not traversed in less time 
than four hours, so deep was the mire. 

The Brazos and Trinity bottoms are over- 
flowed for weeks together in the winter 
season, and, in the absence of causeways 
and bridges, are extremely difficult and even 
dangerous to pass. In process of time, 
there is no doubt that the banks will be- 
come raised, in a similar manner to those of 



206 

the Mississippi, and the overflowings of the 
rivers will be checked. At present, the as- 
pect of the Prairie, during the winter sea- 
son, and the scenes which are occasionally 
acted there, are more amusing to a looker 
on, than agreeable to the parties concerned. 
Travellers are seen knee-deep in mud, and 
looking as though hopeless of rescue, and 
dying and dead cattle are interspersed 
among bales of cotton, which are in process 
of " hauling ;" altogether it requires a great 
spirit of enterprise to dare the dangers of 
the route. We may fairly suppose, that one 
of the first public works which the Texans 
will undertake, will be to establish a canal or 
railroad, between the Brazos river and Gal- 
veston Bay, in order to facilitate the transit 
of the cotton, which is now hauled across 
the country, from the Brazos to Houston. 
Our inn at Houston, though comfor- 



207 

table as Colonel Baldwin s extreme atten- 
tion could make it, was cold and cheerless 
enough, and we were not sorry, when the 
last evening arrived which we were to 
spend under its roof. We had our usual 
dinner of pork dodgers and a turkey fixed 
with sausages, varied with some dough 
doings, in the shape of puddings, the like of 
which I never saw before. Our surprise 
at their shape and consistency caused 
great delight to Rossetta, the negress in 
waiting, whose mouth distended to twice its 
usual dimensions with the violence of her 
merriment. Her laughter was contagious, 
and our last evening at the " Houston 
House " passed off in high glee. 

We regretted very much that we were 
obliged to leave the country without being 
introduced to the President, but, we hope, 
on a future occasion, to thank him in per- 



208 

son for the gratifying messages we received 
from him. 

We were to leave Houston at eight 
o' clock in the morning ; an arrangement 
which gave me much satisfaction, as I 
should thus have an opportunity of seeing 
a considerable part of the country, which we 
had previously passed in the dark. The 
frost was very severe, and the inhabitants 
asserted that the weather was unusually cold 
for the season of the year. They have an 
adage which tells them, that no frost is 
ever known after the blossoming of the dog- 
wood. This season, however, was certainly 
an exception, for this pretty shrub was in 
full blossom, and yet the thermometer was 
four degrees below freezing point. The 
bayon is very narrow at Houston and ex- 
tremely winding ; some of the turns being 
so sharp that the steamer had great dim"- 



209 

culty in getting round, and frequently 
touched the bank, both ahead and astern. 
Slow, however, as was our progress, I 
would have made it slower still, 

" The muse of inspiration played 
O'er every scene ; she walked the forest maze, 
And climbed the mountain ; every blooming spot 
Burned with her step, yet man regards it not." 

There was a bright sun shining above us, 
and, notwithstanding the brisk cold air, I 
persisted in remaining on the hurricane 
deck. I was at last, however, warned of the 
danger of my position, by receiving a pretty 
smart blow from the branch of one of the 
trees which nearly met over the stream. 
There were beautiful shrubs growing close 
to the waters edge, and down the steep ac- 
clivities had trickled rills of water, though 
now frozen into icicles. The land was high, 
and interspersed with hill and valley on 
either bank; the nearer, however, we ap- 



210 

proached to the sea, the flatter and less 
pleasing the country appears ; gradually be- 
coming marshy, and having an unhealthy 
appearance. 

There are quite as many passengers on 
board as when we ascended the river, 
and I certainly had reason to dread the 
night and the noisy talk which followed. 
The voices of Americans are in general disa- 
greeable and pitched in a high tone : this is 
unpleasant enough in a man, but when such 
a voice proceeds from the mouth of a young 
and pretty woman, one really feels inclined 
to stop one's ears, and refuse to hear the 
voice of the charmer. As to the habitual 
nasal twang (which before I visited the 
country, I thought a fable, or at least an 
exaggeration of our fault-finding country- 
men), it certainly exists in great perfection, 
and I have been at some pains to discover 



211 

the cause. The fact is, their mouths are so 
full of their favourite weed, that they can- 
not open them to speak without disagreeable 
consequences, and they are therefore obliged 
to employ their noses to perform the duty. 
But enough and too much has been said on 
this disagreeable subject, and I only men- 
tion it a propos of my sleepless nights, on 
my narrow shelf in the steamer. Breakfast 
on board ; beef, and raw eggs after it, and 
the infallible egg noggy was drank both by 
ladies and gentlemen. Brandy is given a 
discretion and gratis ; nobody, however, ap- 
peared to commit any excess, or seemed 
the least the worse for it. 

There was a very pretty American on 
board, who had been a bride only a fort- 
night ; she was not nineteen years of age, 
and yet these were her second nuptials. 
Life is soon begun in this country, especially 



212 

among the female portion of its inhabitants, 
and while yet a child in years, the young 
American starts into a " dreadful ansum 
girl " at once, and the consequence of this 
premature start is an early decay of youth 
and beauty. 

I was tempted, after breakfast, into the la- 
dies' cabin, where I remained, because I was 
pleased and amused by what was going on. 
The wife of the captain, who had more of 
the milk of human kindness in her compo- 
sition, than would have softened a dozen 
hearts in our conventional world, took 
great pains to teach me the art of knitting, 
in which she was wonderfully skilled, and I, 
in return, answered her numerous questions 
about England. " Well I guess youVe 
better thread than this in the old country." 
" Do tell now, isn't this pretty sugar ?" and 
then I told another lady (in return to some 



213 

similar information) how many children I 
had left at home, and then she wondered 
how I could keep away from them, and re- 
peated the bon mots and accomplishments 
of her own nursery brood, till I began 
rather to repent of my temerity in venturing 
among such a loquacious society. "I tell 
you now ma'am, my little boy always hides 
when he's told to go to school, and I expect 
it's hard work to find him ; he's a smart boy 
is Washington Mirabeau, and that's a fact." 
At dinner we had pig and parsnips, and the 
meal was, as usual, dispatched in an incre- 
dibly short space of time. We were all 
much disappointed at an announcement, 
which was soon after made to us, that, 
owing to the severe norther, which had 
been blowing for the last two days, the 
water was too low on one of the banks in 
the river, to enable us to reach Galves- 



214 

ton that evening. We were consequently 
obliged to run the vessel alongside of a sort 
of quay, and wait till the tide rose. A 
temporary bridge was constructed, and we 
all went on shore, some to shoot, others to 
visit a Colonel Morgan, close to whose 
house the vessel was lying, and some, like 
myself, to pass away time. It was extreme- 
ly cold, and we were obliged to walk briskly 
to keep ourselves tolerably warm. 

Colonel Morgan's house was very pretty ; 
its owner was absent, so I went over it and 
took a walk in the grounds. The latter 
were well laid out, and the adjoining farm 
appeared, to my inexperienced eye, in good 
order ; some very fine sheep were grazing, 
and the wheat and barley looked very well. 
Mr. Houstoun had the good luck to kill an 
opossum, a strange looking ugly animal, 
something like a badger, with its fore paws 



215 

resembling human hands. When he brought 
the creature on board, the society were very 
anxious to have it cooked for supper, consi- 
dering it, as they said, " first rate eating." 

The Opossum is held in great respect by 
the Yankees, as a particularly " smart " 
animal. It is very difficult to take him, 
and he knows an ingenious trick or two for 
self preservation. If he finds himself slightly 
wounded, and, after casting about in his 
mind, sees no other means of escape, he pre- 
tends to be dead, and even allows himself to 
be carried home and his supposed corpse to 
be thrown aside. Directly he finds himself 
alone, he starts up and makes the best of 
his way to the woods again. This trick of 
the opossum is so well known, that when a 
slave is suspected by his employers of sham- 
ming sickness, to avoid his work, he is com- 
pared to this cunning little beast ; " Well I 



216 

guess he's coming 'possom over us." It is 
difficult to deceive a Yankee, but the ne- 
groes often succeed when they pretend ill- 
ness, for even as slave-owners, these people 
have hearts, and kind ones too. 

Some of the party, who remained on 
board, amused themselves with rifle shoot- 
ing, and I saw some good specimens of 
Yankee skill. A duck was discovered on 
the water, at the distance of fifty yards, and 
a sportsman assured us he would take off 
the top of its head, at that distance : he 
quite succeeded, and the poor little bird was 
brought to us literally scalped. 

In the early part of the night I was, 
as usual, extremely amused with listen- 
ing to the conversation of the acute cal- 
culators and cunning politicians that sur- 
rounded us. The future fate of the coun- 
try, and its probable annexation to some 



217 

other power was discussed ; but what 
power was it to be ? that was the question. 
France, they declared, had been most an- 
xious to obtain possession of them, but her 
propositions had not exactly suited them, 
and the affair had ended. England, they 
seemed to think, would be the most eligible 
country on which to lean, but it was 
doubted, and that very generally, whether 
that power would have anything to say to 
them. This was public talk, but we were 
privately informed by a person worthy of 
credit, that a negociation for the sale of 
Texas, and to which he had been a party, 
had been on the point of being concluded, 
between America and Mexico. The latter 
were to make over Texas, for a stipulated 
sum, to the United States. The transac- 
tion, as he assured us, was all but con- 
cluded, and the papers required only the 

VOL II. L 



218 

signatures of the respective presidents, when 
the person charged, on the part of the 
Americans, with the necessary documents, 
thought he might just as well do a little 
business on his own account. Instead, 
therefore, of proceeding direct to Mexico, 
he betook himself to Texas to purchase 
land ; being induced to do so by the know- 
ledge of the value to which land would rise, 
immediately on the conclusion of the sale. 
This ddtour was the cause of considerable 
delay, and, in the interim, events occurred 
which rendered the projected compact im- 
possible, and altered entirely the aspect of 
affairs. 

Mixed up with these political conferences 
was a good deal of conversation on the in- 
teresting subject of the slave trade. This is 
a very engrossing topic here, and, on this 
occasion, it gave rise to some rather violent 



219 

speechifying. There were many greatly in 
favour of the continuance of slavery, and a 
few as strongly against it. 

There was one individual who spoke 
well in favour of abolition ; his reasonings 
were very right-minded and ingenious, and 
I admired the straightforward moral cou- 
rage, which induced him to stand boldly 
forward in the midst of so many opposers, 
and to advocate openly the cause which he 
had espoused. 

After listening to the various arguments, 
for and against the possession of slave 
property, I saw no reason to change the 
opinion I had previously formed on the 
subject, and I am as much as ever convinced 
that the slave-owners are the greatest suf- 
ferers by its continuance. 

The almost absolute dominion which a 
slave-owner, at least in the plantations, pos- 



220 

sesses over his human property, must tend 
to render a master tyrannical, and unmerci- 
ful. It has the effect of making them des- 
potic, because the human mind is so consti- 
tuted that the possession of power is seldom 
used with moderation, and it cannot be 
doubted that harshness, and want of sym- 
pathy with the sufferings of others, are en- 
gendered by the necessity, which the fur- 
therance of their own interests often lays 
them under, of parting kindred and near 
friends. 

I am far, very far from thinking with 
coldness and apathy on the fact, that there 
are human beings in a Christian land living 
in a state of slavery, and dark ignorance. 
There are, however, objections often brought 
forward, which are of a most trivial nature. 
It is said that the name of slave must be 
bitterly galling to those who have the mis- 



221 

fortune to be called by this degrading terra. 
That this would be the case were the present 
nature and habits of the people such as to 
render them susceptible of much fine feel- 
ing, I cannot but agree ; but before the 
negroes can claim pity and sympathy on 
such a plea as this, they must have lived for 
years, and almost for generations, a life of 
freedom and voluntary exertion. 

Again — that the slave-owner does not 
always follow the golden rule of doing to 
others as he would be done by, is true, and 
that it is wrong, and contrary to every 
right principle, moral and religious, to keep 
fellow beings in this degraded state, is 
equally so : at the same time, it may be 
asked whether the evil, as regards the slaves 
themselves, is not more nominal than real. 
The owner of a slave, when he purchases 
him, enters into an agreement, understood 



222 

though not expressed, that his services will 
be repaid by food, lodging, and decent 
clothing ; that he will be allowed sufficient 
intervals of rest, and a certain portion of 
time in which he may work for himself; 
and also he may look forward to eventual 
independence if he is able to earn it, or 
if his own good conduct may render him 
deserving of the boon. The life of the 
slave is protected by the laws, and his good 
treatment is to a certain degree secured by 
the powerful argument, that it is contrary to 
his owner's interest to ill-use him. All this 
I believe to be true, as also the fact that 
young children are not separated from their 
parents. 

At present, what is the conduct of the 
freed slave, and how does he prove that 
he is either a happier or a better man, be- 
cause he possesses the gift of freedom ? If 



223 

there is any truth in the supposed degrad- 
ing, and enervating influence of slave-own- 
ing, there is still more reason for believing 
that the forced servitude in which he is 
kept, together with the strong prejudice 
which exists against his race and colour, 
render the freed slave, in his present state 
of mind, education, &c., incapable of valu- 
ing his free position properly. 



CHAPTER XIII. 



CHARACTER OF THE NEGRO SLAVE. PROBABILITY OF 
FREEDOM BEING GRANTED BY THE WHITES. THE TA- 
RIFF. A CITY IN EMBRYO. RETURN TO THE YACHT. 



I would not have a slave to till my ground, 
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep, 
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth, 
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd. 

Cowper. 

In the character of the negro slave, as in 
every other, both good and bad qualities 
are mixed. Courage, goodnature, and gra- 
titude, they certainly possess, but they also 
are vain, revengeful, cunning, and indolent. 
The opinion is entertained by many, that 
their mental capacities, naturally, are of a 
very mean order. Prejudice has, I think, 



225 

much to do with this opinion, but it is cer- 
tain, that until circumstances shall have 
called forth, and the conduct of the negroes 
themselves shall have demonstrated that 
they are capable of becoming statesmen, 
mathematicians, poets, or philosophers, the 
fact of their being on an equality of intel- 
lect with their white brethren will find but 
few believers. 

It is evidently the policy of the slave- 
holders to keep the negroes in a state of 
entire ignorance and mental subjection, and 
to reduce them as nearly as possible to the 
level of brutes, by which means they hope 
to justify their own conduct towards them, 
and to prevent any possible intermingling 
of the black and white races. It has been 
proved that, in the south, population in- 
creases much faster among the blacks than 
among the whites, and as the surplus popu- 

L II. 



226 

lation from other countries settles but slowly 
where slavery exists, it follows, that in a 
short time the negro race will greatly ex- 
ceed in numbers that of the white men. 
When this takes place — if not before — the 
struggle for freedom will commence, and 
how it will end, no one can exactly foresee. 
The slave-owners of Texas, and of the Sou- 
thern States of the Union, would willingly 
make us believe that one of their main rea- 
sons for supporting slavery, is, because of the 
impossibility of employing white labour in 
many parts of their territories ; yet we may 
fairly conclude that the real motive for their 
conduct proceeds from alarm lest the ne- 
groes should make an immediate, and dis- 
agreeable use of their freedom were it 
granted them. 

That they will do so at some future time, 
can hardly be doubted, and it is almost 



227 

to be wondered at, that any government 
should encourage the existence of slaves, 
when they are known to be increasing in 
such formidable numbers. Unless some 
decisive measures are taken the day of reck- 
oning must come, and in anticipation of 
this crisis, and feeling how little aid can be 
depended on from the Northern States, the 
southern governments have taken pains to 
prevent as much as possible the granting of 
freedom in individual cases, and are like- 
wise most careful in checking the entrance 
of free negroes into the country. As a proof 
of this fact, I may mention that when we 
were on the point of engaging at Jamaica a 
black man, as steward's mate, we were told 
that he would not be allowed to go on shore 
in a slave country, and that were he dis- 
covered on board the yacht, Mr. Houstoun, 
would be obliged to become surety to a large 



228 

amount that he should not put foot on 
land. 

In regard to the excuse principally al- 
ledged for continuing slavery, — viz. that of 
the necessity of employing black labour in 
so hot a country as Texas, — it is affirmed by 
many sensible judges that the necessity for so 
doing is founded upon an erroneous opinion. 
It is true that were slavery abolished, the 
culture of land, in some parts of Texas 
would be more laborious, and perhaps less 
productive than it is now ; but no one can 
believe that white men cannot work, or 
raise the produce of the country. In most 
parts of the Republic, the climate is not 
hotter than it is in the Southern countries 
of Europe ; and it is obvious that, were 
white labour in request, white men would 
work, and the country would become set- 
tled in an incredibly short space of time. 



229 

When this advantage, together with innu- 
merable other benefits attendant on the 
abolition of slavery, (not among the least 
of which may be mentioned, the rise of 
Texas in the estimation of European na- 
tions,) are considered, it must be concluded 
that the blacks will ere long receive their 
freedom at the hands of their white masters. 
It appears to me, (short-sighted as I am 
in these matters, and perhaps unqualified to 
give even an humble opinion) that many of 
the evils attendant on freeing the blacks 
might be modified, and civil war perhaps pre- 
vented, by conciliatory measures being adopt* 
ed in time towards the negroes. They are 
capable of strong attachments, and though 
the work of years cannot be undone in a 
day, much might I think be effected to- 
wards paving the w T ay to a better understand- 
ing. The only effectual mode of concilia- 



230 

tion, namely, that of admitting the negroes, 
to the society of the whites, and to equal 
social rights, never (I should imagine) will 
be adopted, so strong is the prejudice 
against them. Still for his own interest, as 
well as for that of his country, each man 
should perform his part in the good work, 
and should bear in mind the following pas- 
sage from an admirable writer on this ques- 
tion — u Whatever may be the effort of the 
Americans of the South to maintain slavery, 
they will not always succeed. Slavery, which 
is now confined to a single tract of the civil- 
ized earth, which is attacked by Christianity 
as unjust, and by political economy as pre- 
judicial ; and which is now contrasted with 
democratic liberties, and the information of 
our age, cannot survive. By the choice of 
the master, or the will of the slave, it will 
cease ; and in either case, great calamities 



231 

may be expected to ensue. If liberty be 
refused to the negroes of the South, they will 
in the end seize it for themselves by force ; if 
it be given, they will abuse it ere long." 

Whilst the important discussion of the 
slave question was going on at one end of 
the cabin, the price of provisions and the 
tariff were the topics of conversation at the 
other. Everything, as I have before said, 
resolves itself into " calculation," and I had a 
proof of this on the present occasion. One 
of the speakers declared that things in ge- 
neral were dearer than they used to be ; he 
detailed the different and indispensable ar- 
ticles of food and clothing, and summed up 
their cost ; this he called the expence of 
living. Having done this, he proceeded to 
make a bill of the items required on leaving 
the world ; there was the doctor's bill, the 
coffin, the hearse^ the burial fees, lawyer's 



232 

ditto for making the will, and the supper after 
the funeral ; and he concluded with " Well 
sir, I calculate, if living's dear in this coun- 
try, dying's dearer still." 

The negroes, I may remark, had a grand 
fight this evening, and their yells and oaths 
were fearful to hear. They were not in- 
terrupted in their pastime, nor did any one 
appear even to notice the affray. 

The battle field of San Jacintho was 
pointed out to me, and the evolutions per- 
formed during the engagement described 
by one who had borne a part in the action. 
The Texans always speak of this victory 
with pride and exultation, and they have a 
good right to do so. 

A fire had recently occurred in this 
neighbourhood, by which the residence of 
a General Baker had been destroyed, and 
he himself reduced to great misery. Fires 



233 

are now very rare in this country, but a 
Yankee remarked " they would be more 
frequent when insurance offices were es- 
tablished." There are several beginnings 
of cities on this Bayon ; one, in particu- 
lar, I ought to mention, because it is a 
good specimen of the rest. It was planned 
and begun years ago by a foreigner of the 
name of Pellegrini ; I believe, a native of 
Savoy. This enterprising individual is as 
mad a castle builder as I ever saw, and en- 
thusiastic and sanguine beyond belief. We 
remained a short time, to land passengers 
before the city ; the plan embraces churches, 
club-houses, squares, terraces, theatres, and 
in short, all the concomitants of a great city ; 
but in the meantime there exist but eight 
wooden houses and a fine sounding name. 
There was a slight accident, which hap- 
pened to one of the engines, that delayed 



234 

our arrival about two hours, even after we 
came within sight of Galveston, and it was 
late in the evening of the third day, before 
the steamer touched the upper wharf of that 
port. The gig was waiting for us with her 
crew of fine looking English sailors, in their 
yacht costume, each of them so clean and 
neat ; what admiration they excited as they 
stepped from the gig on board of the dirty 
little steamer! — none on board had ever 
seen the smart crew of an English yacht be- 
fore, and the sight evidently filled them with 
wonder. In five minutes we found ourselves 
enjoying the quiet and comfort of our ocean 
home. One certainly never appreciates 
comforts till one loses sight of them. How 
often, during our short absence, had I sighed 
for the every-day luxuries, to which we 
were accustomed on board. The decks ne- 
ver looked so white as now, and the brightly 



235 

polished guns and spotless paint were, in 
themselves, a perfect luxury to the sight. 

Tis evening time, and o'er the sand, 
The starlit waves are gently swelling 
And not a sound is heard on land, 
Save the ship's bell, the hour telling.' 
Yet, though the gloomy night clouds veil 
Thy tapering masts, I trace the line 
Of beauty, and thy presence hail, 
My ocean heroine. 

Thou " Skimmer" of the untamed sea ! 
Thou fairy thing of life and light ! 
Reposing 'neath the canopy 
Of the still and peaceful night. 
Soft in thy ocean cradle sleep, 
The low winds voice thy lullaby, 
Rest ! for well thy guardians keep 
Their watchful vigils o'er thee. 

Sleep ! for soon their voice shall wake thee 
Once more to stem the angry tide. 
Once more in gladsome jubilee 
The boisterous waves to ride. 
Then, bird of beanty ; rest awhile ; 
Soon on the broad and boundless main, 
Leaving this lone and sea girt Isle, 
Thou'lt spread thy snow-white wings again. 

M. C. H. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



SEVERE NORTHER. THE RATTLESNAKE, ETC. HUMMING 
BIRDS. SUMMARY MODE OF EJECTING ABOLITIONISTS 
FROM GALVESTON. NATIONAL GUARD. BURYING 
GROUND. TEXAN DUEL. FACILITY OF OBTAINING A 
DIVORCE. AGREEABLE PRESENT ON THE LAST DAY OF 
OUR STAY. GOOD WISHES TO THE REPUBLIC. 



'Tis not restraint on liberty 

That makes men prisoners or free, 

But perturbations that possess 

The mind, or equanimities. 

The whole world was not half so wide 

To Alexander, when he cry'd, 

Because he had but one to subdue, 

As was a paltry narrow tub to 

Diogenes ; who is not said, 

For ought that ever I could read, 

To whine, put finger i' th' eye, and sob, 

Because he'd ne'er another tub. 

HUDIBRAS. 

The cold wind seemed to have been still 
more severely felt here than it had been up 



237 

the country, and one poor man had actually 
died from its effects. This dismal death, how- 
ever, was not so much to be ascribed to the 
intensity of the frost, as to the extreme keen- 
ness and strength of the wind. The crew 
were fortunately always prepared, by the 
sudden falling of the glass, for these national 
northers ; but if it happened that I myself 
had neglected to consult this unerring guide, 
I have been quite astonished at their arrival. 
I have known a calm, as still as death ; not 
a ripple on the water and not a murmur on 
the breeze ; when suddenly a sailor has ex 
claimed " Here it comes ! " and, in a mo- 
ment, literally in the twinkling of an eye, 
the wind was roaring through the rigging, 
and the sea rising to a tremendous height ; 

" Remoter waves came rolling on to see 
The strange transforming mystery :" 

the schooner was tossed about at her an- 



238 

chorage, and the water fell on the bar to its 
lowest depth. 

The last norther, before our return, was 
particularly severe, but fortunately it left 
us fine spring weather, and as a proof of the 
power of the sun, rattlesnakes, alligators and 
musquitoes were beginning to make their ap- 
pearance. Of the former, I confess, I have 
a great horror, and I am sure if I were ever 
to become a " settler," I should not have 
courage to brave them, as I saw done by the 
Galveston people. In order, I suppose, to 
make one's mind easy, you are told that 
" the Indians " know a herb, which they call 
the "snake's master;" I have no doubt that 
this is very consolatory to them, but I can- 
not see in what way others are benefitted by 
their knowledge. I saw a poor little Scotch 
terrier fall a victim to one of these reptiles : 
with all the spirit and valour of his race, the 



239 

tiny dog rushed at his foe, and, careless 
of his master's call, returned again to the 
charge, even after having been severely 
bitten : he lived only about three hours 
after he had received the bite, although all 
kinds of remedies were tried, the most effi- 
cacious of which, we were told, was a spoon- 
ful of gunpowder, poured down the animal's 
throat. In the long grass, among which 
the snake was found, the children of one of 
the inhabitants were constantly in the habit 
of playing. I asked their father if he was 
not afraid of their sharing the fate of the 
poor terrier, and his reply was, " no, that 
they never had been bit, and that he be- 
lieved sucking the poison out of the wound, 
always prevented any fatal consequences." 
The rattlesnake certainly does not take you 
unawares, for their angry vicious rattle is 
heard long before they proceed to the 



240 

attack ; I would, however, much prefer 
keeping out of even hearing distance. The 
alligator's eggs were just beginning to be 
hatched, and the young reptiles came out in 
sunny days in great numbers. The alligator, 
however, frightful as he looks, is not a crea- 
ture to be much afraid of, as he is rarely 
known to attack man, and is, moreover, so 
large and unwieldy that, whilst turning himself 
about, there is plenty of time to get out of 
his way. We took a young one on board the 
yacht, about four feet long and very savage ; 
he did not live more than a fortnight, per- 
haps from being too much exposed to the 
cold. I had also a pretty little flying-squirrel, 
which I rescued in the streets of New Or- 
leans from a boy who was tormenting it ; 
these creatures are very common here as 
pets, and mine, though very shy, used to 
come on deck to sun himself in fine weather, 



241 

One of the most curious creatures I saw in 
the country is the " horned frog," as he is 
familiarly called. In shape, he is not very 
unlike the ordinary frog, but with the addi- 
tion of a tail, about an inch and a half long ; 
he is found in marshy spots in the Prairie, 
and is of a brownish green colour, spotted 
with black ; he has horns on his head, 
which are pointed, and about half an inch in 
length ; he has also similar excrescences, 
though not of so great a length, on his back. 
He runs with great rapidity, and is alto- 
gether a most wonderful little reptile. We 
had two of these animals in our menagerie, 
and hoped to preserve them till we reached 
England. 

A few days before we left Texas, we saw, 

to our great surprise, an immense flight of 

humming birds. They had alighted in a 

small garden in the middle of the town, 

vol. ir. M 



242 

which, in default of better and sweeter 
flowers, was well stocked with the yellow 
blossoms of the turnip plant. I could have 
stood for hours looking at them. They 
seemed to be of every colour ; crimson, 
green, blue, and sprinkled with gold dust. 
They darted and glanced about in the 
bright sunshine, shooting out their long 
slender tongues into the yellow flowers, 
and making their tiny music sound through 
the little parterre. We found it very diffi- 
cult to take them alive, and many were sa- 
crificed in the attempt : I had, however, 
three brought to me in little cages, and pre- 
served them alive for some days, feeding 
them on bread soaked in honey, which 
they ate greedily. They sat on little 
perches, and appeared to be much tamer 
than larger birds ; roosting at night, and 
and eating throughout the day, without re- 



243 

gard to the presence of human beings. 
They all died the death of pets, by accident 
or over stuffing. Poor little things, they 
should never have visited the settlements ; 
they were too fragile, and too delicate for 
the contact of human hands. No one seem- 
ed to know where this flight of " oiseaux 
mouches 9 came from. The day after their 
first appearance being cold and cloudy, 
they were no more to be seen, having dis- 
appeared as suddenly as they came. It is 
strange, at what a great distance from land, 
these little creatures are occasionally seen ; 
when more than two hundred miles out at 
sea, between the Texas and the Havana, a 
humming-bird settled on the rigging of the 
Dolphin. 

As on board the steamer, we found the 
slave question the principal topic of con- 
versation among the good citizens of 



244 

Galveston. Many of the latter main- 
tained, that individuals have no right to 
interfere with their lawful property, and 
were so indignant with the abolitionists, 
that they banished the principal philanthro- 
pist from the city. The person in question 
was conveyed in a boat to the mainland, 
and there turned adrift to preach to the in- 
habitants of the woods and prairies. Ano- 
ther, a black man, and by trade I believe a 
barber, had likewise incurred the displea- 
sure of the inhabitants of Galveston, by 
advocating the cause of his race in the 
market-place. He declared his life was 
in danger, and pretending to be a British 
subject, claimed the protection of the 
British minister. One of their own most 
respected townsmen did not escape their 
wrath. This person having declared him- 
self opposed to the abolition of slavery, 



245 

but still inclined to hear the arguments pro 
and con, was ordered to be silent on the 
subject. He replied, that his was a free 
country, where every one had a right to 
express his opinions. This right apparently 
was not acknowledged, for he was put into 
a boat and sent to the mainland : strange 
occurrences in a country calling itself free. 

The National Guard of Galveston were 
kept constantly in battle array, and paraded 
through the town. The guns, too, were 
kept in readiness to protect the town 
against the fleet which was every day ex- 
pected from Campeachy or Vera Cruz. I 
cannot say that the artillery at the forts 
presented a very formidable appearance ; 
there were not more than a dozen eighteen- 
pounders, one or two of which had been 
lying harmlessly on the sand ever since 
we had been here. In the yacht, we 



246 

fancied ourselves quite secure, concluding 
that the British flag would be treated with 
due respect. I had little real expectation, 
however, of seeing anything of the Mexi- 
cans, and was inclined to think that the ex- 
citement would end as it had begun, in 
words. 

Our drives into the prairie were now much 
more agreeable than before. The weather 
was warmer, and the land much dryer ; and 
there were also more living inhabitants ; blue 
birds, cardinals, &c. We shot some pelicans, 
and afterwards reproached ourselves for 
our cruelty, for they were quite useless for 
stuffing, or any other purpose. There were 
immense flocks of curlew and plover, who 
were evidently on their passage to some 
other clime. The prairie was becoming quite 
gay with flowers ; in many places, however, 
they were setting it on fire, and a very cu- 



247 

rious sight it was, — a sheet of fire flying 
rapidly before the wind. The cactus, or 
prickly pear, was beginning to blossom ; 
and I expected in a few weeks I should re- 
cognise some of the glowing descriptions 
which travellers have given of the country. 
Alas ! I had no chance of realising my an- 
ticipations, for we were soon to take our 
leave of the Gulf. The pilot had returned ; 
he found at Aransas only six feet of water 
on the bar, and at Matagorda seven ; he 
gave it as his opinion, however, that there 
were times when vessels drawing eight feet 
might enter the latter port with safety. 

The Galveston pilot fell in with the 
Mexicans at Copano ; a fortunate circum- 
stance for him, for they gave him fifteen 
dollars for some tobacco, which had cost 
him but three. This was a good IC opera- 
tion," and they begged him to return as 



248 

soon as possible, to do some more business, 
promising to purchase, on the same terms, 
as many thousand bales of tobacco as he 
could manage to bring. This circumstance 
shows us what the trade with Mexico is 
likely to be when peace is established. 

I shall not be surprised to hear, before 
any very long period has elapsed, that the 
valuable mines (I believe of gold, silver, 
and copper,) which are to be found in this 
country, are worked ; to say nothing of the 
coal-mines, which perhaps I ought to have 
placed first in the scale, at least of useful- 
ness. When population increases, and the 
demand for wood, for steamers, building, 
&c, becomes proportionately great, this ne- 
cessary article will no doubt also become 
scarce, and the working of the coal mines 
will then be a work of absolute necessity. 

Cedar is the commonest and cheapest 



249 

wood here, besides being much the most 
useful for building purposes. It is very va- 
luable in the erection of wooden piles, 
which are exposed to the action of water, 
as no insects or marine animals will adhere 
to it. This wood is the one most in use, 
too, for firing; and as you pass near the 
houses where there are fires burning, the 
perfume is delicious. 

On my last day at Galveston, I passed near 
the burying-ground, and a sad sight indeed 
it was ! I should not have been aware of its 
proximity, had I not perceived a human skull 
under my horse's feet ! On looking round, 
I saw many similar relics, and hurried from 
the spot with a feeling of dismay and 
horror, which it would be difficult to de- 
scribe. The reason for this desecration of 
the dead is as follows. The sandy soil has 
so little depth, that no sooner are the dead 

M II. 



250 

deposited in the ground, than they are de- 
nuded of their light covering, and the sea, 
which washes the limits ot the burial- 
ground, claims its share of these neglected 
remains. The consequence is, that the ad- 
joining land is actually strewed by human 
bones in every direction. 

I stood upon the place of graves ! 
There, where eternal ocean laves 
The land bound shore. The wind's low moan 
Through the long grass was heard alone ; 
Save when at intervals the sea 
Rippled in mournful melody. 
I was alone ! meet spot for thought ! 
In that deep solitude, when nought 
Reminded me of life ! Far off 
The city's tumult, and the scoff 
Of laughing crowds. They are forgot 
Who lie in silence here ; where not 
A stone or mound is rais'd to show 
Who are the dead that sleep below ! 
Whose are the bones that whitening lie, 
Sad relics of mortality, 
Strew'd on the flow'ring herb, or prest 
By heedless feet ? a heartless jest 



251 

To some ! — I look upon the sea ! 

Its waves are dancing in their glee 

And sporting bright and merrily. 

But mark ! whose is the brainless skull, 

That, like the wreck'd and useless hull 

Of some once stately ship, floats on 

Buoyant in its emptiness ? None, 

None answer, and the lightsome wave 

Sports with the outcast of the grave. 

Now on the crescent foam it rides, 

Now 'neath the dashing wave it hides ; 

And now it slowly onward glides, 

Say, busy man ! Is this the end 

Of all thy labour ? To descend 

Into a nameless grave ; no tear 

Shed on thy poor and lonely bier, 

Forgotten in the busy strife 

Of those who were thy friends in life. 

What now thy country's cause to thee ? 

Thou reck'st not that she now is free. 

Boldly thou strove in freedom's cause ; 

High (at the murmuring applause 

Of wondering nations.) beat thy heart ; 

Now low, and hush'd, and still, and part 

Of that dear earth thou bled'st to free — 

A lesson to posterity ! 

Our last act and deed before we left 



252 

Galveston, was watering and victualling the 
Dolphin. A large supply of salted beef was 
taken in, which I should not have men- 
tioned, but for an accident which occurred 
in consequence, and which gave us a good 
deal of uneasiness. During the process of 
stowing the meat, it was necessary to re- 
move some of the iron ballast, and for this 
purpose, an instrument of the same metal is 
made use of, about a yard long, with a 
handle at one end, and a hook at the other. 
One of the men was tugging away at the 
handle of the rod, and another was lying 
down in the act of assisting him, when un- 
happily the iron bent slightly : the iron bal- 
last immediately slipped off, and the man 
who held it fell backwards. The conse- 
quence was, that the iron hook entered the 
eye of the unfortunate man. By ill luck, 
our doctor was on shore at the time, and 



253 

did not return to the yacht for some hours 
afterwards, when he did not at all approve 
of the treatment practised by the Texan 
surgeon, who had been summoned when 
the accident happened. The agony the 
poor man suffered must have been very 
great ; he fainted away almost immediately, 
and soon became delirious. He was a long 
time on the sick list, and eventually lost 
the sight of his injured eye. 

I confess, I should not much like to trust 
a serious case in the hands of the Texan 
doctors. Some of them may be clever and 
well educated, but the medicines in general 
I believe to be bad, in spite of their fre- 
quent announcement as cargo, and the 
words, " drugs" and " chemicals" appended 
to so many of the stores. 

A death by violence had lately taken place 
in this country, and as the circumstances 



254 

under which it occurred caused a conside- 
rable excitement, I think them worthy of 
narration, and the more so as they throw 
some light on the reputed frequency of vio- 
lent deaths in Texas. 

A Colonel H a mild and benevolent 

man., had a quarrel (as even the mildest 
men will sometimes have) with one of his 
neighbours. There were no means of ad- 
justing their differences, and, accordingly, 
Colonel H was informed by his adver- 
sary, in the usual terms, that he should take 
an early opportunity of shooting him dead. 
Colonel H was not a particularly ner- 
vous man, and for some time after this plea- 
sant announcement had been made, he went 
about, perfectly convinced, from the charac- 
ter of his foe, that he would not fail to keep 
it to the letter. After a while, however, the 
suspense and anxiety became too much for 



255 

his spirits, and he resolved to put an end to 
the affair. Acting upon this resolution, he 
watched his opportunity, waylaid his adver- 
sary, and — mild man as he was, — put a 
period to his existence. This affair, which 
would have been called a murder by preju- 
diced and ill-informed historians, is after all 
but the Texan mode of managing a duel ; it 
certainly differs from our way of settling a 
quarrel, but when all is said, I do not know 
that it is a much worse form of manslaughter. 
I have omitted to mention the extreme 
ease with which divorces are obtained in 
Texas. During our residence of only a few 
months in the country, no less than forty 
couple were disunited, and this merely by 
taking an oath on both sides of mutual in- 
compatibility of temper This circum- 
stance ought to be generally known ; as it 
may be of service to those similarly situated, 



256 

to learn that by a six months residence in 
Texas, they may enjoy the benefit of this 
liberating system. 

I received a present on this my last day 
in the Republic, which though of little value, 
I prized as a proof of kindness of heart, and 
good feeling. Mrs. Kelsey the wife of the 
Captain of the little Houston steamer sent 
me a cap of her own knitting ; I had par- 
ticularly admired it when on board, and it 
was worked with great labour and skill. 
She looked for no return ; and the circum- 
stance was the more gratifying, because I 
had seen her but once, and did not expect 
to renew my acquaintance with her. Such 
things are not common in the " old country." 

If we set off such instances of good will as 
these (and I could mention many others) 
against the trifling annoyance occasioned by 
the apparent familiarity and want of refine- 



257 

ment, on the part of these young settlers, 
we shall be more satisfied with the real 
good we find among them. 

I one day heard a rough Texan, dressed 
like a ploughman, ask one of our English 
friends for the loan of his gun for a few days, 
and another, trusting (and not too much) 
to his good nature, said on another occasion, 
" well now Commodore, I want you to 
lend me your bed room for a short time, if 
you please." It is the consciousness of their 
own extreme willingness to confer similar 
obligations, which renders these people so 
little scrupulous in making somewhat exor- 
bitant demands of others. 

But I must draw my Texan annals to a 
conclusion. We were, as the Yankees say, 
" bound to go " and to leave this land of 
free hearts and untrammelled actions, for 
one which owns a despot's sway — and for 



258 

a colony where the broad hand of authority 
presses down the energies of the People. 

Let me, before I bid adieu to the shores 
where we had so long ridden at anchor, 
waft good wishes to the land, and to its in- 
habitants. 

May the country " go ahead," and pros- 
per — may wise men lead her counsels and 
brave men direct her arms — above all may 
her financial, and commercial character be 
unsullied; then will her word be good in 
the Great Exchange House of Nations, and 
she may hope to stand alone * — an inde- 
pendent Republic — a great people among 
the powers that are. 

* The opinion that Texas is incapable of standing 
without the assistance of some established power, is very 
prevalent, and her possible annexation to the United 
States is exciting much interest. It is to be hoped, for 
many reasons, that she may never become a portion of 
the Union ; but that event appears now to be' not far off. 



CHAPTER XV. 



DEPARTURE FROM GALVESTON FOR THE HAVANA. SE- 
VERE GALE. APPEARANCE OF THE SEA UNDER ITS 
INFLUENCE. DANGEROUS NAVIGATION OF THE GULF 
OF FLORIDA. INCIDENTS ON BOARD THE YACHT. 

ARRIVAL AT THE HAVANA. MORO CASTLE. THE 

BAY. VISIT OF THE SPANISH AUTHORITIES. DIN- 
NER ON SHORE AT THE CONSUL GENERAL'S. HEAT 
OF THE CLIMATE. MANNERS, HABITS AND AMUSE- 
MENTS OF THE LADIES. VISIT TO THE CAPTAIN GENE- 
RAL VALDEZ. 



Hail to thy face and odours, glorious sea ! 
'Twere thanklessness in me to bless thee not. 

How welcomer 
Thy murmurs than the murmurs of the world ! 
Though like the world thou fluctuatest, thy din 
To me is peace, thy restlessness repose. 

Campbell. 

March 31st. — We took our Pilot, Simp- 
torn, again on board and made sail. The 
men, as before, were busily employed in 



260 

shifting ballast. A north wind had been 
blowing for some days, but the weather was 
calm and fine ; after crossing the bar, the 
pilot was discharged, and I then really felt 
that I had bidden adieu to Texas. 

Gradually the low shores of Galveston 
receded from our view ; I stood on deck as 
long as I could catch a glimpse of the land, 
and continued my speculative reveries on 
her present and future fate, till other ob- 
jects arrested my attention, and till the 
horizon was bounded only by the wide 
and quiet ocean. I entertained such dis- 
agreeable recollections of the September 
gales, that I rather dreaded putting to sea 
in March, but our master assured me that 
the vernal equinox was not at all to be 
dreaded, and I felt my courage strength- 
ened. All this day, and the beginning of 
the next, I had reason to be satisfied with 



261 

the weather, and reposed in confident be- 
lief of a pleasant and quiet voyage to 
Havana. Alas ! for the short-sighted an- 
ticipations of a woman! — in the afternoon 
of the 1st of April, as I was quietly eat- 
ing my luncheon in the cabin ; I heard 
distinct preparations for a gale, dark- 
ness crept over the sky, and I heard the 
voice of the mate, " Take in a reef in 
the fore stay sail ; " I never liked the sound 
of the reefing process ; we always carried a 
great deal of sail, and I knew it was never 
reduced without absolute necessity. Soon 
after, it was " Take in another reef in the 
foresail, look alive ; '' the lowering of the 
mainsail soon followed, and by this time it 
was blowing a violent gale of wind. The 
sea, in an incredibly short space of time, 
had risen to a great height, and in- 
stead of enjoying the placid motion of the 



262 

waves, reposing on my couch on the deck, 
I had to hold on and devote all my ener- 
gies to prevent myself rolling about in all 
directions. There is certainly something 
very laughable in the efforts made by lands- 
men and women to keep themselves steady 
on the deck during a gale of wind. Our 
present storm, indeed, was really no laugh- 
ing matter ; at a late hour I retired to 
rest, and continued putting up my head 
out of my cabin every five minutes to en- 
quire how the wind was, and whether 
there was any chance of its abating. On 
such occasions as these, the appearance 
of daylight was always hailed by me with 
unwonted satisfaction; I liked to see my 
situation with my own eyes, and to have 
the power, at any moment, of applying for 
information to one or other of the crew ; 
of course they always comforted me with as- 



263 

surances that it was nothing ; — it was only 
blowing fresh ; this always reassured me, 
but more than all the rest, I rejoiced to see 
their cheerful faces, and to hear that they 
could joke. On the morning of the 2nd of 
April I went on deck early ; it was not 
seven o'clock, but I had had a sleepless 
night, so I wrapped a large cloak about me, 
and staggered up to see the aspect of affairs ; 
and a scene of blank desolation it was ! The 
decks were wet and slippery with the spray ; 
everything looked out of order and forlorn ; 
the watch on deck had on their rough 
pilot coats and south-westers well secured 
under their chins, and were crouching under 
the bulwark, to leeward, to avoid the 
constant showers of spray. The sea was 
of one dull heavy leaden hue, except 
where the summits of the huge tumbling 
waves were crested with a snow white 



264 

foam. It is one of the most fearful ef- 
fects of the tremendous waves in a heavy 
head-sea, that your view is hounded only 
by high walls of inky looking water. 
Around, and a-head the prospect is circum- 
scribed by these tremendous bulwarks of 
the raging element, which seem ever on the 
point of engulphing you in their descent. 
As I stood on the poop, and the bowsprit 
pitched into the hollow pit of waters, it 
seemed almost like a perpendicular descent, 
and I closed my eyes for a moment as 
though all was over. 

Before eight o'clock, a second reef was 
taken in the fore topsail ; there was no break 
in the clouds till about noon, when the sun 
for a moment appeared through a thin veil 
of grey. In the afternoon the weather be- 
came much more moderate, reefs were sha 
ken out, and I began once more to feel happy 



265 

and at ease. The swell, however, was still 
very heavy, and we were told was likely 
to continue so, the Gulf of Florida not 
being notorious for the quiet of its seas. 
We saw a great deal of the gulf- weed, which 
floated past us in large quantities. This 
sea-weed is very light and pretty when first 
taken out of the water, but it soon becomes 
shapeless, and will not bear drying. I 
believe a vast number of shipwrecks have 
occurred in the Gulf stream ; there are 
fearful currents and eddies, and ships are 
frequently driven out of their course. 
From the narrowness of the channel the 
sea is always in a state of commotion, and 
after the violence of the late gale, the waves 
were more fearful than ever. We were all, 
I mean the " idlers," more or less pros- 
trated, either by internal or external mal- 
aise. Poor Monsieur de C ■ was quite 

vol. II. N 



266 

Jwrs de combat, with the best intentions of 
making a good fight against the enemy. 
He never tasted food for five days, and to 
this moment I am at a loss to understand 
how he contrived to exist through such a 
period of inanition. As usual, we went 
through the ceremony of every meal, as 
regularly as if we were on land. The cook 
was never put out by weather, and let the 
ship roll about as she would, he never made 
any alteration, and his entries were as good 
and as numerous as ever. The table, which 
was a swinging one, sometimes caused a 
little delay in the consumption of the viands; 
often, when on the point of securing a 
mouthful on our forks, the well spread 
board would mount up towards the ceiling 
on one side, and we were forced to wait its 
pleasure before we resumed our meal. 
This was amusing enough to me, and as no 



267 

one was very hungry at such a time, the 
delay did not so much signify ; but the 
noise is not to be described. I believe the 
Dolphin to be (without partiality) as quiet 
as a ship can well be, but the masts and 
bulkheads began, after their long rest, like 
giants refreshed, to labour out their peculiar 
noises with a spirit unknown before. I was 
told it was nothing, and certainly, after the 
first night or two, I slept soundly and 
heard it no more. How we were flung 
about ! my swinging cot rocked to and fro 
like an insane thing, whilst I felt myself a 
passive victim to its sport. One night I 
found myself, with a sudden shock, pros- 
trated on the deck : I had been sleeping 
soundly, and at first could not make out in 
the least what had happened. I soon, how- 
ever, ascertained that the lashings of my 
cot had given way, from the constant strain 



268 

upon them : luckily for me the bump upon 
the deck was not felt by my head, as it was 
the lashing at the feet that had given way. 
It was not pleasant, however, to find one- 
self, in the dead of the night, in an angle of 
forty-five. The occurrence recalled to my 
mind some descriptions of practical jokes, 
related by Captain Marry at, and I thought 
how hard it was for unwary midshipmen, to 
be cut down at the head, when they least 
expected it ; the escape from concussion of 
the brain must be narrow. It is to be in- 
ferred, from its unfrequent occurrence, that 
the young gentlemen in the navy, half a 
century ago, were not very susceptible in 
that organ. 

April the 3rd, was rather squally, but it 
was only single reef weather, and I did not 
mind it. 4th, light breezes, " out all reefs," 
delightful sound ! but it was not to last, and 



269 

during the three following days it blew hard 
enough ; the current was running very 
strong, and we were driven forty miles out 
of our course. I believe that nothing but 
the violence of the gale would have induced 
our poor passenger to come on deck ; I had 
not seen him for four days, when on a 
sudden he made his appearance on the 
companion ladder ; sickness and suffering 
had made sad havoc with his outward 
man, as indeed they had with most of us. 
The weather on the eighth was more mode- 
rate, and in the morning several sail were 
in sight. It was delightful to watch them, 
— to speculate on what they might be, and 
to feel that this stormy stage of our aquatic 
journey was so nearly at an end. At eleven 
o' clock A. M. the man at the mast head 
sung out land "a-head." The wind was 
S.E. half east ; the current was driving us 



270 

to the eastward. We gradually neared the 
land, and at five o'clock P. M. I heard the 
welcome order to clear anchors. Soon after 
we sighted Moro Castle ; the high lands 
were beautiful ; once more we rejoiced in 
the sight of the waving tops of the cocoa- 
nut trees, and felt the hot sun of the tro- 
pics. But we had no time for admiration, 
the British ensign was hoisted and flowing 
gaily aft — the little schooner had passed 
the Moro Castle, and was sailing up be- 
tween the closely packed shipping in such 
a perfect manner! She certainly excited 
great admiration, if we could judge by 
the faces and marked attention of those 
on board the ships through which she 
passed. I was prepared by description for 
the striking appearance of the harbour, par- 
ticularly of its entrance. The Moro Castle 
is on the left, a high imposing building. On 



271 

the right is the fort of Punteo, and the pri- 
sons built by Tacon, when he was Captain 
General of Cuba. The bay 5 in which more 
than one thousand ships may anchor with 
safety, opens out beyond this narrow en- 
trance. Our Master almost always made a 
point of taking a pilot, and this was one of 
the few occasions on which he deviated from 
his rule. The yacht, after threading the 
mazes of this difficult navigation, brought 
up at six o'clock p. m. in seven fathom 
water ; decks were immediately cleared ; 
and sails furled, and we prepared once 
more for a quiet life. 

There was so much to interest, and to at- 
tract attention, that I stood on deck abso- 
lutely staring at all the interesting objects 
I saw. There were ships of every nation, and 
we were soon boarded by a number of dingy 
looking men from a wretched looking boat 



272 

bearing the Spanish flag. The deck of the 
schooner was soon crowded by these officials, 
for such I supposed they were, while some 
rushed below, examining her in all direc- 
tions ; an order was given at last that no 
more should come on board. They could 
not all have a right to board us, and civility 
evidently was not the object of their visit. 
I had been so long in democratic countries 
that I was quite rejoiced at the sight of some 
faint symbols of royalty. And, (I confess 
my weakness) the dirty crown, on the still 
more discoloured flag, was quite refreshing 
to my feelings. To be sure, it was but the 
crown of degraded Spain, the lowest of the 
monarchies of the earth, but I respected it 
nevertheless. I began almost to despair of 
being ever left to ourselves. No sooner 
was the curiosity of one party satisfied than 
another boat-load made its appearance. 



273 

They dispersed themselves over every part 
of the vessel, and poked their black and tan 
faces into every hole and corner, filling our 
eyes and noses with tobacco smoke, and 
defiling the white decks of the Dolphin with 
the odious consequences of their national 
habit. The fact was, that they could not 
be made to comprehend the nature of our 
craft. She was armed — that was suspi- 
cious — but then we were evidently not a 
belligerent set — were we traders ? No - — 
they concluded that there must be concealed 
cargo somewhere, and consequently hunted 
about in all possible and impossible places 
for our supposed merchandize. Monsieur 

de C with the dismal recollections of 

his late sufferings fresh upon him, remarked 
" I think it very natural, — of course they 
find it impossible to comprehend how any 
rational beings can be sea-sick for pleasure !" 

N II. 



274 

The Spaniards evidently could not under- 
stand it ; they shrugged their shoulders, 
looked puzzled, and with most dissatisfied 
faces returned to their boats. Then came 
the sharks in the shape of bum-boat women, 
entreating and coaxing the sailors to buy of 
them ; jokes were cut as they leant over the 
ship's side, and. every now and then, when 
some adventurous individual completed his 
purchase, it was handed up in triumph, and 
the fortunate possessor began to discuss its 
real value coolly and at leisure. My at- 
tention was diverted from this rather amus- 
ing scene by perceiving an English man-of- 
war's boat pulling towards us. She con- 
tained, besides the rowers, only a midship- 
man, a small boy, who if only as a clean 
countryman of our own, we were delighted 
to see. He had been dispatched from the 
Thunder surveying ship, Captain Barnett, 



275 

which was lying near, to make enquiries, 
and to ask if we were the " Charlotte" 
yacht ? Having replied in the negative, 
(and it seemed that our advent had caused 
much speculation among our countrymen,) 
we thanked Captain Barnett through his 
envoy for some kind and civil offers, he had 
made us, and our new acquaintance took 
his leave. Except the Romney, receiving 
ship, the Thunder was the only English 
man-of-war then at Havana. After dinner, 
a very polite Aidecamp, attended by a Yan- 
kee interpreter, (very boastful and very lo- 
quacious,) came to make enquiries after the 
health of the crew. The surgeon made out 
his statement that we were all tolerably well 
and that no immediate anxiety need be felt 
on our account ; a clean bill of health was 
therefore given us, and we were graciously 
allowed the liberty of going on shore. Early 



276 

the next morning Mr. Houstoun took ad- 
vantage of the permission and called on Mr. 
Crawford, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul 
General, to whom he had letters to deliver, 
and we had the pleasure of dining at his 
house the same afternoon. 

This was called, the cool season at Ha- 
vana ; no one complained of heat, indeed 
some of the old inhabitants pronounced it 
quite temperate. I could not understand 
this, for to me it was most oppressive. We 
had again recourse to our awning, and 
as one proof among many, that our sen- 
sations did not deceive us, the fish that was 
bought alive in the market, at ten in the 
morning, was in an uneatable state at four 
o'clock on the same day. How fearful must 
be the heat during the reign of the yellow 
fever ! The healthy season is said to com- 
mence in November, and to last till February, 



277 

so that I fear we had silghtly encroached 
upon the limits of the yellow fever domin- 
ions. The dews here are remarkably heavy ; 
the deck early in the evening being quite wet, 
as though heavy rain had fallen during the 
day, and drops fell heavily from the masts 
and rigging. These dews are supposed to 
be particularly injurious to Europeans, and 
the latter should be particularly careful not 
to expose themselves to their influence. 

It is the custom at Havana to dine early, 
and a very sensible custom it is. The ladies 
remain at home during the heat of the day, 
lounging over their chocolate and cigars, 
or taking their accustomed siesta. When 
the sun has nearly set, their life of move- 
ment (if such it can be called) begins. Then 
it is that they enjoy their drives, and pay 
their visits of ceremony or affection. After 
dining with the Consul Mrs. Crawford's car- 



278 

riages conveyed the whole party to drive on 
the Passeo, the fashionable promenade of 
the city. Almost the only carriage in use 
is the Volante, it is a description of vehicle, 
peculiar I believe to Cuba; and I must, 
therefore, attempt a description of it for the 
benefit of those who have not had an oppor- 
tunity of seeing it. It is in shape not unlike 
a cabriolet on extremely high wheels ; it is 
six or seven feet in height, and the wheels 
are above the head of the occupant. The 
shafts are extremely long, and the effect 
is very light and graceful. The volante 
is driven by a postilion, almost always a 
black, and his dress is the gayest that can be 
imagined ; gold and silver are spread with 
a lavish hand on his person, and red and 
blue, and every gay and gaudy colour, is 
chosen for his adornment : the famed 
Postilion de Longjumeau would sink into 



279 

obscurity and shabbiness by the side of 
these black performers. Sometimes a se- 
cond horse is attached as an outrigger, and 
has a pretty effect ; this however is not 
allowed within the precincts of the city. 
Gentlemen are not often seen with ladies 
in the volante ; two of the latter generally 
occupying the only seat which is extremely 
wide. The rate at which the postillions 
drive, considering the narrowness of the 
streets, is surprising. The mules here are 
more esteemed than the horses ; they are 
many of them beautiful animals ; and I saw 
some of a cream colour, which I admired ex- 
tremely. I believe very high prices are given 
for them ; as much as from sixty to two 
hundred pounds. I was delighted with the 
appearance both of the ladies and their showy 
equipages, as they assembled on the Passeo. 
The volante itself is much ornamented with 



230 

silver, and the harness is always plated, 
wherever plating can, by any possibility, be 
applied. The ladies wear the mantilla, and 
their costume, in their volantes, consists (as 
it appeared to me almost de rigueur,) of 
white muslin decollate, with short sleeves, 
and neither gloves nor mittens. Their dark 
hair is always beautifully shining and well 
dressed ; their heads are well set on, and at 
the back hang the elegant folds of the lace 
mantilla. Every one has something to say 
of the surpassing beauty of the Spanish 
women, — their eyes ! their figures ! their 
walk ! are all described as something so ex- 
quisite, that no women, of more northern 
climes, can venture to compete with them. 

I confess I was terribly disappointed by 
these far-famed beauties. One volante after 
another rolled by, and not one tolerable 
face, take it altogether, had I seen. I have 



281 

no doubt that the extreme heat of the cli- 
mate, to a certain degree, increases the 
natural duskiness of their complexions ; 
certainly, in daylight, they were, I thought, 
much too yellow to be pleasing. By day- 
light, however, they are rarely to be seen ; 
it is at night that they are viewed to advan- 
tage. They all use rouge, I was told, from 
early childhood — but their black eyes, 
which are magnificent, do not require this 
foreign aid to make them sparkle. I saw 
some reputed beauties in the morning, and 
thought them plain ; while at night, I 
could not believe them to be the same 
persons, and felt inclined almost to change 
my opinion I had formed in the morning. 
The walk of the Spanish women, which 
is described as being so peculiarly grace- 
ful, I had little opportunity of seeing. 
No lady walks at Havana : nor do they 



282 

even descend from their volantes when 
on shopping expeditions : naturally indo- 
lent, this relaxing climate seems to deprive 
them of the little degree of energy which 
nature bestows on them. Their accom- 
plishments are as limited as their sphere of 
action. They whisk about their large fans 
with surprising dexterity, and this seems to 
be one of the principal employments of 
their lives. They speak a little bad French, 
do a little indifferent religion, get through a 
considerable amount of flirtation, and not a 
little scandal. The evening drive on the 
Passeo is the grand event of every day; 
gossip then goes on at a great rate ; every 
passer-by is scanned and scrutinized ; ap- 
pointments are made, and reputations are 
sneered away. Great care is taken during 
the drive, that the long white drapery 
should hang out over the step of the volante ; 



283 

it not being etiquette for the flouncings and 
embroideries to be gathered within the car- 
riage. I was warned of this by a young 
lady with whom I was driving, and who 
was shocked at seeing me endeavouring to 
save my gown from dust, and the contact 
of passing wheels. The Passeo de Tacon 
was constructed by the governor of that 
name, and is really a most striking prome- 
nade ; there being fountains, and statues, and 
rows of trees, and every thing requisite to 
make a delightful city drive : on Sundays 
it is crowded by volantes, both private and 
hired. Tacon made many improvements in 
Havana and its neighbourhood. It is a pity- 
that this fine colony should not oftener 
have wiser heads to direct it, and that a go- 
vernment better qualified, should not exist 
in the Mother Country, to choose its 
viceroy. 



284 

In the Plaza des Armas, which is a large 
handsome square opposite the palace of 
the viceroy, a band of music plays almost 
nightly. The performance struck me as 
good ; but the choice of music was not 
made with good taste, at least the fancy of 
the Captain-General, who selects the airs, 
must be a lugubrious one, to judge of the 
dismal sounds that saluted our ears. The 
preponderance of brass instruments is much 
too great, and I was soon glad to escape 
from the uproar, and refresh myself with an 
ice at a large cafe near the Plaza. This cus- 
tom of eating ices, which are brought to them 
in their volantes, is a favourite diversion of 
the Havana ladies ; the gentlemen, mean- 
while, offer their assistance, and are re- 
warded with smiles, and meaning flicks 
with the ever ready fan. 

On Thursday, Monsieur de C and 



285 

Mr. Houstoun dined with the Captain Ge- 
neral Valdez, by whom they were received 
with the greatest kindness and hospitality. 
It is not etiquette for the Viceroy to re- 
ceive ladies at dinner, nor is he himself 
allowed to dine with any individual, let 
his rank be what it may. I was told 
that the Viceroy did not at all enjoy 
the forced monotony of his existence ; 
he is unmarried, but Madame Olivar, the 
wife of the Spanish minister at Mexico, is 
residing with him, and assists in doing the 
honours of the palace. Though not per- 
mitted to invite ladies to dine with him, 
this prohibition does not extend to evening 
parties, and I attended several soirees there^ 
and was glad to make the acquaintance of 
Madame Olivar, who is a delightful person. 
During some of these visits, I learnt a good 
deal of the present state of Cuba — its pro- 



286 

ducts, and the policy of Spain with regard 
to the colony. My principal informant was 
a grave, sensible old Spaniard, whose 
name, however, I have totally forgotten. 
He took compassion on my evident want of 
information on the subject, and I felt much 
obliged to him. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



HISTORICAL NOTICE OP CUBA. COMMERCE. CRUEL 
TREATMENT OP SLAVES. CREOLES. REVOLT OP THE 
MATANZAS. ANTICIPATED REVOLT OF THE BLACK 
POPULATION. EXCLUSIVE STATE OF SOCIETY. "SU- 
GAR COUNTS." ANIMALS, BIRDS, NOXIOUS INSECTS, 
AND REPTILES. RAIL-ROAD. COPPER, SILVER, AND 
COAL MINES. SPLENDID SCENERY. CUBA INDEBTED 
POR ITS PROSPERITY TO VICEROY TACON. PLAZA 
DE TOROS. THE CATHEDRAL. 



Never may from our souls one truth depart, 
That an accursed thing it is to gaze 
On prosperous tyrants with a dazzled eye ; 
Nor, touched with due abhorrence of their guilt, 
For whose dire ends tears flow, and blood is spilt, 
And justice labours in extremity, 
Forget thy weakness, upon which is built, 
O wretched man, the throne of tyranny! 

Wordsworth. 

Since its discovery by Christopher Colum- 
bus, Cuba has frequently been a contested 



288 

possession between England and Spain. In 
the year 1 760, the island was confirmed as 
a dependency of the Spanish government, 
and the Floridas were ceded to Great Britain 
in exchange. It is a rich and most valuable 
island ; the soil is very productive, and 
yields two, and sometimes three crops of 
corn a year. Of the extreme fertility of 
the island, no one can form an idea, till, 
from some lofty eminence, he casts his eye 
over the beautiful aspect of its fertile plains 
and wooded hills. 

Though early in the year when I was there, 
the country was covered with sweet-smelling 
and beautiful plants, while already the shrubs 
and trees were filling the air with the perfume 
of their fragrant blossoms. The following are 
some of the principal articles of export. Su- 
gar, rum, tobacco, cocoa, coffee, molasses, &c. 
A great quantity of salted meat, and fish, 



289 

as well as grain of many kinds, are im- 
ported. 

The slave-trade, as is well known, flou- 
rishes in this country, and to its existence 
may, I think, be attributed many of the de- 
grading vices, and peculiar defects, which 
debase the general character of the white 
inhabitants of Cuba. The Spaniards have 
the reputation of showing more kindness to 
their slaves than the white masters in other 
slave countries. This may be the case 
with the domestic slaves, as the black popu- 
lation certainly look particularly fat, sleek, 
and well fed. It was at Havana, however, 
that I first saw the marks of stripes on the 
shoulders of a woman, and I cannot describe 
the effect that the sight produced upon me, 
both of horror against the unmanly wretches 
who could thus punish a woman, and dis- 
gust against the race of slave-owners collec- 

VOL. II. o 



290 

tively. How this unnatural traffic bru- 
talizes the human feelings ! I once wit- 
nessed, in the neighbourhood of Havana, 
the degradation of a negro slave prepara- 
tory to receiving punishment : he was 
being dragged along with a rope round his 
neck, like some refractory criminal. Simi- 
lar, and I fear much worse instances of 
cruelty are, alas ! too frequently occurring 
in the Plantations. 

The proportion of Negroes to white men 
is greatly in favour of the former. The 
policy adopted in regard to both Creoles 
and Negroes, is injudicious ; no attempts 
being made to conciliate the good will of 
either. The iron hand of military and des- 
potic power is the only rule ; and where it 
not for that, there is no doubt but that this 
fine colony would soon pass from the hands of 
its present masters. No Creoles are ever 



291 

employed in any high or honourable offices, 
nor are they allowed any responsibility or 
share in the affairs of the government ; 
thus this numerous class of the inhabitants 
are rendered disaffected, and ready to join 
in any scheme of revolt ; and, moreover, 
the Creoles are many of them possessed 
of great wealth, which causes them to be 
infinitely dangerous as enemies. It is said 
that the Negro population are constantly 
on the eve of a revolt, and the conscious- 
ness of this being probably the case, keeps 
the government in perpetual hot water. 
The regular troops consist of only ten 
thousand men, while there are six hun- 
dred thousand blacks, rendered desperate 
by oppression, and ready at any moment 
to turn upon their rulers. The Spanish 
government in Europe seems but little 
aware of the volcano, which is so near 



292 

bursting beneath their overstrained and in- 
judicious rule. 

Not long ago there was a well ordered 
and nearly successful insurrection of the 
Matanzas negroes. They behaved with 
great courage and resolution, and having 
obtained some slight advantages, they se- 
cured themselves in a strong position, 
from which they did not emerge till they 
had obtained conditions extremely favoura- 
ble to themselves. The authorities at Ha- 
vana are now evidently roused to a sense 
of danger, for even the word freedom is sup- 
pressed, and the fine national air of " Li- 
bertad," is not allowed to be sung. It is 
vain, however, to suppose that such precau- 
tions will prevent the silent longing for 
freedom from finding a voice among a 
people, goaded to desperation by a sense of 
their wrongs. The coloured population of 



293 

Cuba may be subdued and crushed for a 
time, but the smouldering fire will some 
day burst forth from the trampled ashes, 
and not all the power of Spain will be able 
to stay its fury. 

There are a great many natives of the 
Canary Islands here : they are said to be 
good, well disposed people ; and, as ser- 
vants, they are valued as faithful and intel- 
ligent. 

The different classes of society at Ha- 
vana, are kept, from all I could learn, 
strictly apart. There are a few still re- 
maining of the real old grandees of Spain ; 
indeed, I have heard persons well ac- 
quainted with the manners and habits of 
good old Spanish families declare, that such 
are to be found now only at Havana. In 
Spain, (though the Mother Country,) the 
race is said to be extinct. Great and un- 



294 

qualified contempt is felt and expressed by 
these aristocratic families for the " nou- 
veaux riches" who, swelling with pomp and 
pride, lord it over their humbler neighbours. 
Many of the latter, however, are great land- 
ed proprietors, and slave-owners. " Sugar 
Counts" they are called ; and the epithet is 
remarkably well chosen, as it tells, in many 
instances, the tale of their increase of for- 
tune, and at the same time conveys an 
idea of the possibility of their titles and 
riches melting away as speedily as they have 
arisen. 

One of these " sugar noblemen," (his 
name I have forgotten, but he is said to be 
the richest man in the island,) made his for- 
tune by the importation of slaves — a li- 
censed dealer in human flesh. I looked at 
him as a sort of monster, when I re- 
flected upon the vast amount of human 



295 

suffering of which he had been the acting 
cause. 

The alligator, the sea cow, and the turtle, 
are all found in the island of Cuba. The 
latter, however, are not numerous ; and the 
supply for consumption at Havana is 
brought from the island of Nassau. 

I saw birds in endless variety; cana- 
ries, cardinals, nightingales, linnets, perro- 
quits ; in short, every thing that can be 
imagined as most gay and harmonious. I 
could scarcely help fancying it the pleasant 
month of June, the air was so sweet and 
soft ; while the song of the birds filled my 
imagination with memories of past spring- 
times. 

14 Now each creature joyes the other 
Passing happy dayes and howers. 
One hirde reports unto another 
In the fall of silver showers ; 
Whilst the earth (our common mother) 
Hath her bosome deckt with flowers." 



296 

A great drawback to these spring de- 
lights, were the fearful number of noxious 
insects and reptiles; snakes of the worst 
kind, scorpions, centipedes, and I cannot 
tell what besides. The persevering blood- 
thirsty musquitoes were already rife, but 
happily they did not venture much on 
board the yacht. 

A rail-road has been in existence for 
some time in Cuba; extending to a dis- 
tance of fifty miles between Havana and 
Guines. It traverses a not very level line 
of country, and there are several conside- 
rable cuts through hills, and also a tun- 
nel of tolerable length. These things 
speak well for the industry and resources 
of the Cuba people ; for even a little ap- 
pearance of energy shows well among the 
enervated denizens of the West Indies. 
Extensive and valuable coal mines, as well as 



297 

those containing copper and silver, have 
been discovered in Cuba : these must be a 
source of immense wealth, and there is no 
want of ready money to work them. The 
rail-road traverses a beautiful line of coun- 
try, diversified with cocoa-trees, and innu- 
merable other plants, unknown except 
within the tropics. We passed in our rail- 
road excursion through extensive coffee 
and other plantations of tobacco, sugar, &c. 
The coffee shrubs grow very prettily, and 
the green of the leaves is rich and varied. 
There is great charm to a stranger in see- 
ing the wild growth of the pine apple, the 
plantain, the custard apple, and the cocoa 
tree. The fruit hung on the dark boughs 
of the orange trees like 

" golden lamps in a green night." 

There were many other trees, of which I do 
not know the names, some of which were 

o II. 



298 

literally loaded with green fruit. The fo- 
rests are very thick, and clear rills of water 
trickle down the mountain sides, refreshing 
one by the very sight of their coolness. 

The climate in the mountains is, I am 
told, healthy enough ; but near the coast 
we heard enough of its baneful effects. We 
were warned not to expose ourselves to the 
influence of the moon's rays ; the influ- 
ence of the gentle planet being supposed to 
be particularly dangerous, and to bring on 
attacks of the fell disease. 

The principal cities in Cuba are Havana, 
St. Jago de Cuba, Principe, and Santa Maria 
de Punto. There are several safe ports, and 
good anchorages, but from the vast extent of 
rocks and shoals, the navigation outside is 
difficult, and often dangerous. The forts 
above the city are covered with palm trees ; 
the citadel itself is very strongly armed, as 



299 

well as the heights above the town, which 
are bristling with arms. No stranger is al 
lowed to visit the arsenal, or to enter the 
fortifications ; admittance I believe, being li- 
mited to the government authorities, and 
the garrison. I heard of a poor artist from 
a foreign land, who, not being aware of the 
prohibition, strayed with his colours and 
brushes within the works. He was not 
even challenged by the sentinel, who, 
without any other notice, fired his musquet 
at the poor man. Fortunately, the wound 
was not a severe one. Officers of the 
British navy are especially excluded, not 
only from visiting the forts, but also from 
entering the ships of war. 

I have already mentioned Tacon, the go- 
vernor, as one to whom Havana, and in- 
deed the island of Cuba generally, are in- 
debted for much of their present peace and 



300 

prosperity. This clever and enterprising 
viceroy was sent from Spain some years 
since. He found the colony in a miserable 
condition ; there being but few public works 
and national buildings, and those in ex- 
istence being neglected and abused. Rob- 
bery and murder were committed with 
impunity, and there were neither guar- 
dians of the public peace, in the shape of 
police, nor any laws by which justice 
could be effectually administered. All 
these evils, and many others, Tacon took 
upon himself to redress ; he established an 
efficient police, by which offenders were kept 
in awe, and quiet was restored to the capital ; 
he enforced obedience to the laws, protected 
trade, and hunted out and punished the 
bands of robbers which before infested the 
country ; he also built large prisons and 
enacted useful laws for their government 



301 

and regulation. I have before said that the 
planting and arrangement of the public pro- 
menades was his work, but the most con- 
spicuous of the adornments, to which Ha- 
vana is indebted to this indefatigable gover- 
nor, is the Campo Militar, which is called 
the Square of Tacon ; it has four gates, 
one on each side of the square, to which 
he gave the name of Columbus, Cortes, 
Pizarro and Tacon. 

El Teatro de Tacon, as its name implies, 
was likewise erected under the late gover- 
nor's auspices. It is remarkably handsome ; 
I should say about the size of our Hay- 
market ; and the ornamental part is in very 
good taste. The pit seats, which are usually 
occupied solely by gentlemen^ are com- 
fortably fitted up with arm chairs, each 
one having a number appended to it. 
There is a good Plaza de Tores, and the 



302 

bull-fights of Havana used to be celebrated, 
though at present great complaints are 
made of the scarcity of good bulls for the 
arena: — the ladies are in despair, "the 
stupid beasts are so tame." The cathedral 
is well worth seeing, particularly during the 
Holy Week, when black kneeling figures 
are sprinkled over its wide pavement in all 
directions. The pictures it contains are 
scarcely tolerable, but there is an urn 
shown you, which contains, it is said, the 
remains of Columbus. I looked at the 
latter with great interest and respect, as 
the only mortal part of the great voyager, 
ordained by providence to bring into light 
and truth so large a portion of the globe. 



CHAPTER XVII. 



MAGNIFICENCE OF PRIVATE HOUSES. CEREMONIES OF 
THE HOLY WEEKS. ENTRANCE OF H. M. SHIP THE 
ILLUSTRIOUS, ADMIRAL SIR CHARLES ADAM. HIGH 
PRICE OF PROVISIONS. FRUITS. HIGH RENTS. GOOD 
FRIDAY. RELIGIOUS PROCESSION. PROTESTANT OR- 
DINANCES STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. RACE-COURSE. 
DEATH OF POOR NANNY. THEATRE OF TACON. DANCE 
ON BOARD THE FLAG-SHIP. OUR LAST EVENING AT 
HAVANA. 



La faiblesse est le seul defaut que Ton ne saurait 
corriger. 

La Rochefaucauld. 

The private houses at Havana, at least a 
great many of them, are magnificent. It is 
the custom here to leave all the windows to 
the street open at night ; the living rooms 
are most commonly on the ground-floor, 
and the passer by is of course at liberty to 
enjoy the sight of many a gay soiree and 



304 

tertullia. In other towns, where such 
things and sights are unknown, a crowd 
would speedily be collected, but here the 
practice is so universal, that no one thinks, 
from mere motives of idle curiosity, of stop- 
ping to look in. Acquaintances of the 
house, or of some of the guests may occa- 
sionally peep in at the windows, in order 
to ascertain if any of those they would 
wish to meet are within, and if the re- 
sult of the survey prove satisfactory, they 
enter without ceremony. This seems to 
me a very agreeable style of society, there 
are no formal reunions, and no person 
need enter a room with the chance of meet- 
ing a disagreeable or obnoxious person ; it 
is, in my opinion, another great advantage, 
attending this easy mode of visiting, that you 
are not compelled to remain a moment longer 
in any house than you find it agreeable. 



305 

Great preparations were being made for 
the ceremonies of the Holy Week; the 
gaiety of the previous days being to be re- 
placed by the strictest mourning and gloom. 
Flags of every nation were floating in the 
harbour ; the gaudy red and yellow of the 
Spaniard, the French tricolor, the ensigns 
of Hamburgh, Prussia and Belgium, to say 
nothing of our own national colours, which, 
in true loyalty to my country, I ought to 
have placed first in the list. All these 
brilliant national colours, if belonging to 
catholic countries, are, on Good Friday, 
lowered half mast high ; the yards are 
canted, and the effigy of Judas Iscariot, 
after having been hung at the yard arm, 
is, with every mark of ignominy and detes- 
tation, thrown head foremost into the sea. 

A few days after our arrival, our kind 
friends Mr. and Mrs. Crawford and their 



306 

party, besides Captain Barnett of the 
Thunder, and a Spaniard or two, dined 
on board the yacht. Our table was spread 
(as usual with us in hot weather) on deck, 
under the shade of the awning. The Illus- 
trious, seventy-two, bearing the flag of the 
Admiral of the station, Sir Charles Adam, 
was hourly expected ; indeed, to my great 
satisfaction, as I had had very little expe- 
rience in naval matters, and looked forward 
quite as a treat to seeing a vessel of so large 
a size manoeuvring her way through the 
narrow channel. The approach of the ex- 
pected ship was telegraphed during dinner, 
and shortly afterwards we saw her tall masts 
rounding the Moro Castle. The entrance 
to the harbour is not more than about three 
hundred yards, and there being hardly any 
wind, the entrance of such a ship, her tack- 
ing, &c. did not seem by any means an easy 



307 

affair. Every thing else was forgotten in 
the interest of the sight, and in the antici- 
pated pleasure of seeing more English faces 
in a foreign land. In spite of difficulties, 
the flag-ship came in beautifully, and came 
to an anchor close to the yacht. After 
dinner we went on shore to drive, and to 
shop. I went in quest of sweetmeats, which 
are excellent here, but expensive as all ar- 
ticles of food are. To us, so lately accus- 
tomed to the cheapness of living in Texas, 
the high prices of necessaries seemed still 
more remarkable. The price of a very 
small fowl was half a dollar, and beef 
was ten pence a pound ; the mutton was 
better flavoured than the beef, which was 
dry and tasteless ; the vegetables were ex- 
cellent, and in great variety. We had 
young potatoes, french beans, peas, as- 
paragus, cauliflower, in short every summer 



308 

vegetable which Europe produces, besides 
others peculiar to the country. The oranges 
and pines were delicious and the water 
melons were not to be despised. The 
Zapote Mamme I did not think a bad 
fruit, but the natives eat some kinds which 
are really detestable. The guava, which 
makes so good a preserve, is I think 
quite unpleasant in a raw state, both as to 
taste and smell ; and I am far from approv- 
ing the mango, though it looks so tempt- 
ing ; there is also a purple fruit, the name 
of which I forgot, but it is anything but deli- 
cious, and another equally bad, of an ugly 
brown colour, resembling in appearance a 
potatoe half baked with its skin on. In my 
opinion, none of the fruits here are to be com- 
pared to those we eat in England, as I con- 
fess I prefer an apricot greatly to a banana, 
and a good pear to a custard apple ; indeed, 



309 

many of the fruits, which are considered good 
in Havana, would be given only to the pigs 
in our country. Wearing apparel costs more 
here than it does in any place lever was 
in ; the price of long white kid gloves are 
two dollars, more than eight shillings a pair. 
It will be seen that the expences of living 
in this city are not small, and I must wind 
up my items with mentioning the rent of 
houses — • one of even tolerable size, cannot 
be hired at less than from four to five hun- 
dred pounds a year. The washing of clothes 
costs three dollars a dozen. 

The following day we paid a visit to the 
Admiral, on board the Illustrious. I was 
conducted over the ship, and, it being my first 
time of undergoing the like ceremony, I was 
much surprised at all I saw. I thought the 
heat, when I arrived at the midshipmen's 
quarters something fearful, but I suppose 



310 

they soon become accustomed to it. We 
dined on board the flag-ship, and afterwards 
accompanied the Admiral on shore to a 
soirde at the Captain-General's. From the 
morning of the Thursday before Good Fri- 
day, till the evening of the Saturday follow- 
ing, the most perfect stillness reigned in the 
streets ; not a carriage was allowed to pass 
through any part of the town, and we 
were consequently obliged to go on foot 
to the vice-regal residence. The distance 
from the landing is not considerable, but 
in this climate all exertion is disagreeable, 
and I felt inclined to quarrel with any 
thing that forced me to take exercise, 
let it be in what shape it would. The 
military band was playing in the square, 
and mournful, and tiresome airs, seemed 
the order of the day. The square was 
crowded with people, but principally by 



311 

negroes, to whom it appeared to be a sort 
of fete day. They were all dressed in white, 
and the contrast it afforded to their black 
hands and faces was very striking. The 
Spanish ladies, however, are dressed in the 
gayest colours, as if they wished to make 
themselves amends for the deep mourning, 
in which it was de rigneur to clothe them- 
selves on the morrow. As we left the pa- 
lace, the city watchmen, who are reckoned 
particularly good and efficient, told the hour 
from time to time, but with the exception of 
their warning voices, not a sound was heard 
to break the stillness of the night. 

During all this time, I spent my mornings 
on deck under the awning; my sofa being 
spread where I could obtain the most of 
the refreshing breezes, of which, however, 
you feel but little in the harbour. I occa- 
sionally, in the course of the day, received 



312 

visits from my neighbours, and thus, in a 
most indolent, enervating mode of life, the 
scorching hours passed by. 

Good Friday arrived ; the guns were fired, 
with a dull heavy sound, and muffled drums 
with all sorts and signs of gloom and lamen- 
tation, were in full display. Every one was 
in black, and the churches were thronged 
by penitential visitants. 

About mid-day Sir Charles Adam gave 
us much pleasure by paying the Dolphin a 
visit, and I greatly regretted, that owing to 
its being Good Friday, we were prevented 
from receiving him with a salute and all 
due honours. 

In the evening we witnessed a grand re- 
ligious procession from the balcony of the 
Captain-General's residence. As we arrived 
early, before the entrance of most of the 
lady guests, I had a good opportunity of judg- 



313 

ing of the manner and appearance of each, 
as she entered the apartment. They wore 
black crape dresses, with fans and gloves of 
the same sombre hue, indeed there was not 
a speck of white to relieve the dismal 
mourning appearance they uniformly pre- 
sented. As usual in this part of the world, 
the greeting between female acquaintances 
was a kiss on each side of the face ; and after 
going through this preliminary ceremony 
all the ladies sit down in a large half circle, 
and without saying a word, begin flicking 
about their fans with great perseverance. 
I thought I never saw any thing so dull as 
the party was at this stage of its perform- 
ances, and I was beginning to feel almost 
ashamed of my own desire for greater liveli- 
ness, when discovering by accident that 
my neighbour could talk a little French, 
I began a conversation with her. By the 

VOL II. P 



314 

help of incessant questions on her part, 
and patient answers on mine, we kept 
up a considerable amount of talk, and thus 
whiled away the time till the procession 
begun. 

No sooner was the first distant sound of 
military music heard, than the company ge- 
nerally displayed something approaching to 
animation, every one rushing to the balcony, 
and placing themselves on their knees ; 
though I must say, with not a very devo- 
tional air. After the soldiers, with their 
bands of music, came rows of children bear- 
ing torches and incense : then there were 
negroes marching two and two together, 
and priests in various costumes according 
to their rank and the religious order to 
which they belonged. Last of all, there 
appeared a large canopy, carried by six or 
eight persons, under which was to be seen 



315 

the figure of the Virgin covered with tinsel, 
besides other figures, the representation of 
which appeared to me to be rank blas- 
phemy : the whole ceremony, indeed, was 
poor and absurd, and was calculated to 
raise any feeling in the mind rather 
than that of devotion. Directly the pro- 
cession had passed, the ladies with one 
accord rose from their knees, and com- 
menced discussing the merits of the per- 
formance ; this however occupied but a 
short space of time, and the amuse- 
ments of the evening soon began in good 
earnest. These consisted of making little 
parties to promenade to the churches, 
whence, after a few genuflexions and a 
prayer or two suited to the occasion, they 
returned with renewed spirit to their fans 
and flirtations, their ices, and their scandal. 
The ladies at Havana are not permitted 



316 

to enter the churches with their heads co- 
vered : the silk mantilla is the only pre- 
tence of covering, which shades the head 
and shoulders of these fair devotees. Bigo- 
try and intolerance reign here with tyranni- 
cal sway, the effect of which is to render 
a large portion of the people averse to the 
subject of religion altogether. A great 
enmity is felt, and expressed towards the 
Protestant faith, and the exercise of its 
outward ordinances is strictly prohibited by 
the government. 

Many strict rules, in regard to the regula- 
tion of moral conduct, are laid down by 
society here, and a great outcry is raised if 
any unfortunate individual is so rash or so 
misguided as to break through them. As 
an instance of this — no lady is permitted 
by the rules of decorum to drive in her vo- 
latile on the Passeo, without being protected 



317 

either by a female companion, or by her 
own husband, and even her brother is not 
considered a proper chaperon. I suspect 
that there is more of outward show, than of 
real decorum, in all this vigorous straining 
after gnatlike trivialities, and I have often 
heard it remarked that neither the educa 
tion of the young Spanish women, nor their 
habitual conversation, were in keeping with 
this overstrained prudery. Mothers and 
elder sisters are, it is said, in the habit of 
paying far too little attention to the moral 
education of the more juvenile, and female 
branches of their families ; and it not un- 
frequently happens, that topics of scandal 
are discussed, and reputations canvassed be- 
fore them, the details of which are sufficient 
to blunt their moral perceptions. When it 
is remembered that in this country girls 
become wives, and the mothers of families 



313 

at an age when in England they would be 
still in the school-room, the evil of this 
fatal system of education will be seen in all 
its magnitude. 

Saturday. We took a drive on the rail- 
road through shrubberies of coffee bushes. 
The rate at which we travelled, was not 
greater than ten miles an hour, and I could 
not help rejoicing that we went no faster, 
as otherwise we should have seen much 
less of the country, which is extremely pic- 
turesque. 

There is a height above the town, which 
it is well worth taking the trouble to ascend. 
The hill, which is very steep, is crowned by 
a fort, and the view from it, looking down 
on the city, and the surrounding country, is 
panoramic, and very striking. The race- 
course is within a couple of miles of the 
town ; in the course of our late drive we 



319 

paid a visit to this spot, dedicated to the 
gambling propensities of the " gentlemen 
sportsmen " of Havana. It is a good and 
convenient course, and we saw several 
fine looking American horses in training. 
The Bishop's garden, which we next visited, 
is well worth seeing. It is crowded with 
oleanders, roses, verbenas, convolvuluses, 
and every sort of beautiful flowers, growing 
in wild and tangled disorder, and all in full 
and luxuriant blossom ; the fire-flies at night 
were brilliant. The road to this paradise 
of flowers is thickly planted on both sides 
with guava and sour-sop trees, besides cocoa- 
nut trees, and palms, many of them loaded 
with green fruit. In addition to the trees 
I have mentioned, there are ebony, cedar, 
mahogany, and lignum vitas ; Indian corn 
too is much cultivated, and adds not a 
little to the beauty of the country. 



320 

I noticed a great number of very beautiful 
goats feeding about, many of which were te- 
thered under the trees, and regularly milked. 
Goats' milk is in great request here. Talk- 
ing of goats, our poor New Orleans " Nanny" 
had caused us during the last few days a 
great deal of uneasiness. She had been in 
great and evident suffering, and we supposed 
that her illness was owing to her having pick- 
ed up and eaten some large pieces of cotton, 
with which the sailors were cleaning the 
guns. Her groans were really melancholy 
to hear. In the evening we dined with the 
British Consul, and met the Admiral, and a 
large party of naval officers. I ought not 
to omit to mention that the individual of the 
party who made the greatest impression on 
me, was one of the prettiest English girls I 
ever saw ; her roses had not yet paled under 
the influence of a tropical sun, and she was 



321 

a pleasing contrast to the sallow beauties of 
the island. We remained late on shore, 
and on our return on board, not being 
able to endure the heart rending groans 
of poor Nanny ; we condemned her 
to a watery grave. She had a piece of 
ballast attached to her feet, and was com- 
mitted to the deep by torch-light, much to 
our regret. 

The following day being Sunday, we 
had hoped to have heard divine service 
performed on board the flag-ship and 
most of the English, and Protestant in- 
habitants of Havana had assembled on 
board with the same expectation ; the 
Chaplain, however, was too unwell to 
officiate. Most of the party remained 
on board till the evening, when we again 
paid the Passeo a moonlight visit. This 
was the grand night for theatrical perform- 
p ii. 



322 

ances at Havana, and we went with a large 
party to the pretty theatre of Tacon. The 
house was crowded, and the performance, 
which, however, I thought tedious enough, 
was much applauded. There was a great 
deal of pantomimic acting, and the sce- 
nery, was remarkably good. The two 
boxes which had been secured for us 
would scarcely hold our party, and we 
should have been rejoiced, and so I 
doubt not would many others of his ac- 
quaintance, to have taken possession of 
the Captain-General's empty box. It is 
not etiquette for ladies to be seen in it, 
which seemed to me very strange, nor do I 
understand the motives for keeping this 
poor man so apart from the common enjoy- 
ments of life. 

Monday. I and the Doctor were rowed 
about the harbour in the gig, while waiting 



323 

for Mr. Houstoun, who had appointed us to 
meet him at the landing place. As we 
came near the steps, our boat's crew were 
very nearly provoked into a fight by some 
sailors, in a boat belonging to a Spanish 
man-of-war. Their object was to cut in, 
and land before us, which our yacht sailors, 
whose boat had touched the stairs first, 
would not of course allow. Oars were 
raised, and violent menaces exchanged, 
while the officer on board the Spanish boat, 
as wretched a looking man as themselves, 
seemed to have neither the power nor the 
inclination to make them behave properly. 
I must say, I found it very painful to my 
esprit de corps, not to allow the English 
sailors to obtain their right, but a contention 
would not have been agreeable, and might 
have caused trouble with the authorities, so 
the men were reluctantly ordered to fall 



324 

back ; an order, which they obeyed, sulkily 
enough. There exists here a great jealousy 
of the English, among naval men, and as I 
have before remarked, none of our officers 
are allowed on board Spanish ships, which 
are certainly too ill-equipped, dirty, and ill- 
conditioned to bear inspection. On the 
evening of this day we had a delightful 
dance on board the flag-ship. There was a 
great deal of beauty present, particularly 

among the English. The Misses M , 

who are half Spanish, unite in their own 
persons the charms of both countries, the 
dark brilliant eyes, betraying their Spanish 
descent, while the soft, clear complexion 
reminds us of our countrywomen. 

It seems a strange thing to assert, that 
cigars are as difficult to procure, really 
good, in Havana, as in any part of the 
world. The state of the case is this, — it is 



325 

impossible to have good cigars unless you 
order them, and that also at a considerable 
period of time before they are required for 
use. It is well known how much time im- 
proves their flavour, and no smoker here 
uses them as fresh as they do in Europe. It 
is notorious, also, that the slaves steal the 
best tobacco, and make it into cigars, un- 
known to their employers ; the cigars, thus 
manufactured, are excellent, but high priced 
and extremely difficult to procure. 

On the Wednesday previous to our de- 
parture we accepted an invitation to the 
house of the " belles of Havana," whom I 
have before mentioned ; it was a pleasant 
(i tertullia ;" the windows opening into a de- 
lightful garden full of jessamine and the 
perfumed dhatura. Dancing was going on 
for those who liked it, while others, who in 
this fervid climate, preferred a state of qui- 



326 

escence, were at liberty to enjoy sweet 
sounds and perhaps sweeter thoughts, in 
indolent repose. 

It was our last evening at Havana, 
and a last evening is always more or less 
painful and trying to one's feelings. We 
had to bid adieu to friends most kind, 
though lately found, and to leave a happy 
spot, which it was more than probable, we 
should never see again ; I do not like 
saying " good bye ; " it " sets me on eend 
like," as Sam Slick says. 

On our return from this scene of brilliant 
gaiety, I noticed, as our volante drove 
slowly through the suburbs, a house, the 
front of which was brightly lighted up : the 
lower windows, which were so large that 
they in point of fact formed the front of the 
house, were wide open, and afforded a per- 
fect and distinct view of the objects within. 



327 

My curiosity was excited by seeing a raised 
platform within the room, at the lower end 
of which sat two men, in mute silence. 
To my surprise, for who would have sup- 
posed that the remains of the dead would 
be thus exposed to view 5 I saw on the plat- 
form the pale face of a corpse ; the stiffened 
limbs were stretched beneath a thin white 
covering, and in the next hour, the form, 
which in the morning was endued with life, 
was to be lowered into the earth. I cannot 
describe the effect that this spectacle had 
upon me, and how much I was struck by the 
contrast it afforded to the scene of dancing 
and merriment I had so lately quitted ; 
verily in the midst of life we are in death ! 
I went on board, and tried to forget it all, 
— the whirling dance and the blank face of 
the dead ! — but they haunted me all night, 
and I was glad when the morning came, 



328 

when I was to change this place of varied 
recollections for our own wild changing 
element once more. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



departure from havana. "mother carey's chick- 
ens." cupid, psyche and pedro. bermuda. st. 
george's harbour. Hamilton, bermudian po- 
pulation. STAPLE COMMODITIES. WHALE FISHING. 
DELIGHTFUL GARDENS. VISIT TO THE BISHOP OF 
NEWFOUNDLAND. THE SEA GRAPE. " THE PRIDE 
OF INDIA." IRELAND HARBOUR. THE LAST HOME 
OF " THE UNITED SERVICE." DEPARTURE FOR ENG- 
LAND. 



But bless the little fairy isle ! 
How sweetly, after all our ills, 
We saw the sunny morning smile 
Serenely o'er its fragrant hills. 

Moore. 
And now the fairy pathway seem'd 
To lead us through enchanted ground. 

Idem. 

Friday, 20th April ; light breeze from 
the eastward. We left Havana harbour 
and passed Moro Castle at nine o'clock 



330 

in the morning; the flag- ship weighed an- 
chor at the same time, and we promised 
ourselves her company on the voyage. 
The sea breeze at Havana begins about 
ten in the morning and dies away about 
three or four p. m. ; it is, therefore, im- 
possible for vessels to leave the harbour 
in the intermediate time. For two days and 
a night we went on well together, though 
in order to do so, we were frequently 
obliged to shorten sail. We amused our- 
selves during these two days by talking, 
unintelligibly enough I must confess, by 
signals, and we frequently found ourselves 
within hailing distance. On the third mor- 
ning I looked in vain for our " tall friend ;" 
we had burnt a blue light, during the night, 
which had been duly answered, but now 
not a vestige of her towering masts were to 
be seen, and we had to go on our way alone. 



331 

The wind soon after lulled to a dead calm, 
and we made no progress ; during this calm 
the stormy Petrels were hovering about the 
ship, close under our bows. I cannot ima- 
gine why they are called by such a turbulent 
name, as they are much more frequently 
seen when the wind is light than in rough 
weather. The sailors, as it is well known, 
think it unlucky to kill them, imagining 
that evils of every kind will be the portion 
of the Jonah, who has been so reckless as to 
kill one of " Mother Carey's chickens.'* I 
have a sort of fellow feeling for these old 
respectable superstitions, and was quite 
distressed when the doctor knocked one 
down with a stick. Happily the little crea- 
ture recovered, and I anxiously watched his 
progress towards perfect convalescence. I 
forgot to mention that we had on board 
three of the prettiest little poodles that can be 



332 

imagined, called by the several names of 
Cupid, Psyche and Pedro. The latter, who 
was then a puppy in its first infancy, was not 
much larger than a good sized dormouse ; 
indeed the average length of the creatures, 
when full grown, is not more than twelve 
inches. The poor little beasts were very 
chilly, and did net seem to like the change 
in the temperature ; though it was very little 
colder than their native place, they were al- 
ready crouching and shivering, and looking 
very unhappy. As for Pedro, I feared he 
would never be " reared," with all the care 
we could take of him. Old Rake, the setter, 
who had so long been used to the good 
things of the galley, was quite jealous, and 
kept walking up and down the deck in a 
state of continual agitation, and casting ma- 
licious glances at my tiny favourites. 

April 28th. We had some " strong 



333 

breezes, " — reefing, especially during the 
afternoon, when the whirling and tumul- 
tuous state of the sea gave us some idea of 
the dangers of the coast. 

29th. Sighted Bermuda, and u vexed " 
enough was the sea that surrounds her hun- 
dreds of islands. After making pilot signals 
for a long time, a black man at length put off 
from the shore in one of the beautiful 'Mudian 
boats, and told us he was a Queen's pilot. 
It was, however, so late in the afternoon that 
he refused to take us into the harbour till the 
next morning, and accordingly we kept him 
on board, tacking about all night. At five 
o'clock the next morning he took us in, and 
we anchored off the admiral's house : our first 
enquiry was for the flag-ship ; she had not ar- 
rived, and I rather triumphed, I acknow- 
ledge, at our having won the race, particu- 
larly in the stormy weather we had encoun- 



334 

tered, and having latterly been running be- 
fore the wind. We found ourselves very 
much exposed in St. George's Harbour to 
the force of the wind, and as we intended to 
remain some days at the Bermudas, we 
shifted our quarters, almost immediately, to 
Hamilton, the principal town. The naviga- 
tion, through hundreds of rocks and islands, 
is difficult, but very beautiful; it really 
seemed like some dream of beauty, the 
water being so clear that you could see the 
pebbly bottom, and then the coral rocks 
and the cedar groves ! it was indeed a bright 
and fairy scene, and when I think of it now, 
in this cold climate and matter-of-fact coun- 
try, how I long to be there with those I 
love about me, again to realize the visions 
of the past, and spend my existence in that 
bright land of poetry and romance. 

Hamilton is a pretty clean town, situated 



335 

close to the water ; the houses are all white, 
and there are hills rising behind them, 
dotted with villas, and interspersed with 
cedar trees. The water at Hamilton has 
the appearance of a large lake ; the entrance 
is narrow, I should imagine, not much more 
than a mile across. There is a drive, ex- 
cept at one end, all round this beautiful na- 
tural basin ; the cedar-crowned hills, and 
the white houses, were to be seen in all 
directions, while lovely little islands orna- 
mented the surface of the water. All was 
quiet; no harsh sounds disturbed the air, 
there was a gentle ripple on the wave, but 
nothing more. The graceful 'Mudian boats 
darted by, and from the shore was wafted a 
perfume of sweet flowers. 

We went on shore almost immediately 
after our arrival, and hired a carriage to 
take us up to the admiral's house, in order 



336 

to acquaint Lady Adam of our having so 
recently parted company with the flag- 
ship. There is a very pretty view from the 
house, and the garden, which is kept with 
great care, is full of flowers. 

During our visit, the Illustrious came in 
sight ; it was Sunday, and in the course of 
our drive, we had a good opportunity of 
forming our opinion of the appearance of the 
Bermudian population. The churches are 
very numerous, and every one we met, was 
on his or her way to some place of worship. 
The blacks are, in general, quite as well 
dressed as the whites, and are particularly 
civil and well conducted, touching their 
hats in a courteous way, which reminded 
one of old England. The supply of fresh 
water is very limited, and I was told that the 
reason for painting the houses white was 
that the rain water, of which every drop is 



337 

of value may not, in its descent from the 
roofs, come in contact with any dirty or 
discolouring substance. The roads are ex- 
cellent and well kept ; being made chiefly 
of granite, taken from the many picturesque 
rocks, which are interspersed among the ce- 
dar woods. There are large fields of arrow- 
root, which is one of their great articles of 
export ; the arrow-root is far superior to that 
grown and prepared in the West Indies, 
the reason assigned for which is, that it is 
prepared by hand in Bermuda, while at 
Jamaica, machinery is resorted to. The 
former method makes the arrow-root far 
more delicate and high flavoured. Onions, 
which are shipped in immense quantities 
to New York and other parts of this is- 
land, are another " staple commodity." A 
considerable number are, I have no doubt, 
consumed by the natives, as adjuncts to 

VOL. II. Q 



338 

the ducks, which are likewise excellent, 
and bred in great numbers. Other kinds 
of poultry are scarce and dear; in short, 
necessary provisions, of all kinds, are not 
raised in sufficient quantities to supply 
the wants of the island. Corn is very 
dear, as well as potatoes ; pigs are not to 
be had, and cattle are brought over from 
the American coast. 

I should say that the inhabitants of Ber- 
muda were inveterately idle ; by far the 
greater proportion are very poor and live 
mostly on fish. Boat building is the most 
common trade, and that seems very much 
overstocked. A great many whales are 
taken at Bermuda during the season, and 
several were caught during our stay. After 
the oil has been removed, the fleshy parts 
are left on the strand, and as the law does 
not allow the sale of this article of food, 



339 

any one may take a portion of this whale- 
beef, as it is called. If you want to taste 
it, you have nothing to do but to send to 
the shore and cut off your portion ; nor is 
there any fear of mistaking the spot where 
the huge carcase is lying ; according to the 
old saying, you have but to " follow your 
nose." 

After several boilings and much soaking 
the flesh of the whale is very tolerable, and 
may easily be mistaken for cow-beef; those 
people, however, whose olfactory nerves are 
in a delicate state, would do wisely not to 
have it cooked within half a mile of their 
drawing room. 

On Monday we took a pleasant drive 
about the island, during which I saw, 
among other curious things, a large na- 
tural tank, hollowed out in the granite 
rocks, and filled with salt water ; it was full 



340 

of fish of different kinds, some of a very 
large size. The fish, called groupers, were 
the most numerous ; there were others of 
brilliant and beautiful colours, particularly 
the " angel fish," covered with blue and sil- 
ver ; we saw them fed, and it was wonderful 
to mark so closely the habits of these mon- 
sters of the deep ; they came up to the sur- 
face of the water, opening their enormous 
jaws, and then rolled over again, making 
room for some huge companion to take his 
turn. They are said to breed here, and 
certainly they all appeared to feel them- 
selves quite at home. 

Tuesday ; this morning we went on shore 
to pay a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy. 
Mr. Kennedy is the Government Secretary, 
and his house and gardens would really, in 
any country, be a model of good taste, 
comfort, and beauty. Such a profusion of 



341 

flowers I never saw,— gorgeous flowers 
from between the tropics, roses from France, 
all Knight's and Colville's choicest houses 
ransacked for sweets and beauty. I know 
little about flowers, their scientific names or 
their natures, but I do know that none 
ever seemed to me so beautiful, as those I 
saw in Mrs. Kennedy's exquisite garden. 
Imagine hedges of the rich double pome- 
granite ; roses, in whose thick foliage and 
glowing blossoms you might lose yourself ; 
and such geraniums ! The sweet rose, the 
scarlet intermingled with heliotropes and 
verbenas, and all wild and uncultured. 

The kitchen gardens are no less worthy 
of notice ; every sort of vegetable, growing 
to a perfection I rarely have seen before, 
and though so early in the year, there were 
beans, peas, cauliflowers, and young pota- 
toes. 



342 

All these things are pleasant, but a kind 
welcome is pleasanter far, and that is a 
luxury one is sure to meet with at Rose 
Bank. We took a long drive to day, first 
to the house of the Bishop of Newfound- 
land, who had previously honoured the 
Dolphin with a visit, and who promised to 
shew me the view from his house, as well as 
the famed sea-grape, which flourishes near it. 
The day was hot, but not so much so as 
to be disagreeable ; and though the carriage 
indeed was rough and the horse stumbled, I 
nevertheless enjoyed the excursion, for it 
was a new country, and novelty has always 
its charm. There is a very steep ascent be- 
fore arriving at the residence of the bishop, 
but the prospect from it amply repays one 
for the toil. 

After a walk of about half a mile from 
the house to the sea-beach, we seated our- 



343 

selves beneath the shade of one of those 
peculiar trees, the sea-grape. In growth 
they resemble ancient fig-trees ; having the 
same rough bold branches and broad-leaves, 
far apart from each other ; when I visited 
the spot, the leaves, which are very thick, 
large and broad, were shaded into red of 
different hues, and the remains only of the 
berries were hanging from the branches. 
I sat down beneath them with my agreea- 
ble companion, and our imaginations natu- 
rally wandered to the magical creation of 
nature's "favourite son/ 5 We made up 
our minds that it was at this particular 
spot that Prospero sojourned, and Mi- 
randa first saw the " brave form," she 
thought a spirit. We fixed upon the place 
where " quaint Ariel " gently did his " spi- 
riting/' and even discovered the tree from 
which his master freed him. It was but the 



344 

imagination of an idea, yet still it seemed 
tangible and clear. 

I am sure that fancy takes a wider range, 
and that the heart beats more quickly, to 
sudden and beautiful thoughts, with a sky 
like this above, and such sweet scenery 
around. 

The pale eyed genius of the shade, 
Led thy hold step to Prosper's magic bower, 
Whose voice the howling winds obey'd, 
Whose dark spell chain'd the rapid hour ; 
Then rose, serene, the sea-girt isle, — 
Gay scenes, by fancy's touch refin'd, 
Glow'd to the musing mind ; 
Such visions bless the hermit's dream, 
When hovering angels prompt his placid smile, 
Or paint some high exstatic theme. 
Then beams Miranda on th'enraptur'd gaze ; 
Then sails bright Ariel, on the bat's fleet wing, 
Or starts the listening throng in still amaze ; 
The wild note trembling on th' aerial string, 
The form in heaven's resplendent vesture gay, 
Floats on the mantling cloud and pours the melting 
lay, 

I never felt any climate so enjoyable as 



345 

that of these lovely islands, at the period of 
our visit. There were many beautiful plants 
and shrubs which I have seen nowhere else ; 
one in particular — the Pride of India it 
is called — I was much delighted with. It 
grows to a considerable height, perhaps fif- 
teen or twenty feet, and has a bright ele- 
gant lilac-coloured blossom ; the perfume is 
delicious, especially in the evening, when it 
comes wafting through the air to a conside- 
rable distance. I believe that most English 
flowers and shrubs, I mean those that are 
commonly cultivated in our gardens and hot- 
houses, would flourish here ; the inhabitants, 
however, seem, most of them, to be too indo- 
lent and too tasteless to care much about 
these sweet favourites of nature. 

The time had now arrived when we were 
to leave these wooded islands. Enchant- 
ing indeed were the days we spent among 

Q II. 



346 

their " sunny waves," atid "bowers," and 
" breezy hills/' and now we are afloat again 
on the " old majestic sea." On the occa- 
sion of our coming to Hamilton, I had 
seen nothing of the scenery through which 
the schooner had passed, it being so early 
in the morning; but now, to make me 
amends, I saw it all in perfection. Wind- 
ing through narrow channels, formed by 
coral rocks and cedar wooded banks, 
through water so clear and so shallow, that 
you could distinctly make out the shells 
and shining gravel at the bottom, the 
yacht glided on towards Ireland harbour ; 
and now 

" The noontide sun a splendour pours, 
And lights up all these leafy shores." 

And after a voyage far too short, we found 
ourselves at Ireland island. It is very pretty 
here ; and as we intended to remain a day, 



347 

the gig was ordered to be manned, and we 
set out on a long cruizing expedition about 
the islands. Somerset was our first point, 
and there we landed, and roamed about the 
rocks, picking up shells and coral. We 
passed the " Haunted Island/' which no 
'Mudian will go within sight of, after dark, 
and then paid a visit to the dockyard, 
which did not seem to me much worth see- 
ing. There were a great many convicts, 
several of whom, I was told, were compara- 
tively rich men ; indeed they can all earn a 
comfortable existence by the manufac- 
ture of pretty little toys and ornaments of 
coral. 

The Electra, man-of-war corvette, had ar- 
rived at Ireland island the day before, and we 
went on board. It was impossible for even 
a landswoman not to be struck by her 
extreme beauty, and the care and evident 



348 

attention which were paid to the most tri- 
fling minutiae of her personal appearance. 
The Dolphin was lying alongside the flag- 
ship, and was kindly permitted to take in 
a supply of water from the latter ; a 
long operation, which was performed du- 
ring our absence, for we did not return 
on board till after dusk. The most inte- 
resting object to me was the Dockyard bu- 
rial-ground, the last home of the " United 
Service." This spot has been comparatively 
but a short time consecrated to this pur- 
pose, and is the most picturesque, and most 
tranquil home that the imagination can 
conceive. It is a little valley hid among 
low hills covered with cedar trees ; these 
trees of ever-living green seem to shade and 
guard it, and the stranger, who comes to see 
the spot, comes upon it unawares. The 
tombs, which are not very numerous, are 



349 

all of the white stone of the country, and 
the burial-ground is surrounded by a 
low iron railing. Through this fence, the 
pomegranate blossom peeps, and among 
the graves, the gay and varied flowers of 
the geranium flourish in wild luxuriance. 
Side by side rest the Admiral, whose head 
had grown white in the service of his 
country, and the little midshipman whose 
dozen years have barely sped. 

We were rowed from this u sweet spot for 
contemplation," by the vigorous arms of our 
boat's crew, but it was so late when we reach- 
ed the ship, that she was with difficulty seen. 

Some of the officers of the flag-ship 
dined with us on board — a parting visit, 
for we intended to sail at day-break. The 
evening was enlivened by cheerful music 
from our giant neighbour, and we sepa- 
rated at a late hour. 



350 

A pilot was taken on board, and I was 
awoke at five o'clock in the morning by the 
sounds attendant on departure. I rose, and 
dressed immediately ; and having in my 
mind the many wonderful anecdotes I 
had heard of Bermudian pilots, and of 
their taking ships through narrow rocky 
channels, I was eager to have my curio- 
sity gratified. The wind was directly 
a- head, and it was consequently neces- 
sary to beat out of the narrow channel. 
The pilot said he had never taken a 
vessel, anything like the size of the yacht, 
out of the harbour with a head wind, 
and she had thus an opportunity of dis- 
playing some of her good qualities. It fre- 
quently occurred, that when the forepart of 
the schooner was almost touching a buoy, 
her stern was within a foot of one of the 
myriads of rocks which mark the channel. 



351 

The difficulty of surmounting all these dan- 
gers must be very great, and the power 
of doing so only to be acquired by long 
practice and experience. Soon after we 
had discharged our pilot, we saw a whale 
at some little distance from us. On look- 
ing towards the shore, we perceived that 
the presence of one of these monsters of 
the deep was known there also, for a whale 
boat was putting off with all dispatch. 

On rolled the creature, his great black 
sides turning up and over, in his awkward 
disportings, while every now and then he 
rose up in the air, and a spout of water 
darted up from his nose. I was, I confess, 
anxious to witness a strife between the 
whalers and their prey, but I was destined 
to be disappointed. The whale got into 
deep water, too far off for the whalers, who 
never go to any distance to sea to over- 



352 

take them. The weather was fine and 
moderate, and once out of the harbour, the 
wind was tolerably favourable. 

Our poor little dogs felt the cold much ; 
and Pedro, the puppy, who for some time 
had stood up manfully against his troubles, 
paid the debt of nature the day after we 
left Bermuda. I heard afterwards that he 
was sewn up by some of the crew in a little 
hammock, and the ship's bell tolled dis- 
mally when his tiny body was cast into the 
waves. 

And now, we were fairly off for England ! 
yes, 

" Homeward now the bounding" vessel flies." 

It almost seemed as if the little Dolphin 
knew she was going home, so lightly and 
swiftly did she sport through the waters. 
Thoughts of happy meetings with anxious 
friends filled every heart. One certainly 



353 

requires something to console oneself for 
going northward, and I, "for one," gave 
many a sigh to the sunny climes we had 
left; indeed, though it was May, "joyous 
May," as poets will persist in calling it, I 
feel that the weather might be wintry, and 
I cast many a backward thought on ge- 
nial airs, and skies without a cloud. We 
always prize what we have lost, and I half 
felt that I had not appreciated these enjoy- 
ments sufficiently when I had them. 

One morning I was called on deck by 
the report of another whale being near ; 
and near enough he was, not ten yards 
from the yacht, " lifting the deep upon his 
back," and looking as if he could lift us too 
with the greatest ease. He must have 
been at least a hundred feet long, and we 
could judge pretty correctly of his size, for 
he lay at times alongside of the yacht, and 



354 

surpassed her somewhat in length. This 
was the only event which occurred till we 
came in sight of the Western islands. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



THE AZORES. TERCEIRA. APPEARANCE OP FAYAL FROM 
THE SEA. SCILLY ISLANDS. EDDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE. 
PORTLAND. THE NORTH FORELAND. CONCLUSION. 



A various scene the wide spread landscape yields, 

O'er rich enclosures, and luxuriant fields ; 

A lowing herd each fertile pasture fills, 

And distant flocks stray o'er a thousand hills : 

Fair Greenwich hid in woods with new delight 

Shade above shade now rises to the sight ; 

His woods ordain'd to visit every shore, 

And guard the island which they graced before. 

TlCKELL. 

May 17th. Sighted the Azores; — the is- 
land of Pico on the leeward bow, and in the 
afternoon we passed close to Terceira. The 
coast seemed pretty, I thought, the most 
distinguishing feature being an immense 
conical shaped mountain. The hills are in 



356 

very picturesque arrangement, and are orna- 
mented with many white, and good-sized 
houses. We were becalmed for some time 
off these islands, and had thus an oppor- 
tunity of seeing as much of Fayal as could 
be seen from the sea. With the help of a 
good glass we could make out both animate 
and inanimate objects very distinctly. After 
this calm, we had some rather strong winds, 
but they were in our favour, and we dashed 
home at the rate of nine and ten knots an 
hour. 

On the 24th of May, after a wonderfully 
short passage from Bermuda, we sighted 
the Scilly Islands, and greeted a misty 
view of English land. There was a very 
heavy swell, and a cold drizzling rain 
falling. 

The next day in the forenoon, we passed 
the Eddystone lighthouse, and fell in with 



357 

many " outward bounders." Ungraceful 
merchant ships, laden doubtless with rich 
stores for all parts of the known world, 
were to be seen in all directions ; and more 
than once we were hailed ; to know our 
name, and whence we came. 

The weather was essentially English, — an 
English May ! The sea cold and dark, re- 
flected the cheerless clouds, and through 
the thick, wet air, dismal looking gulls were 
flying heavily. It was a discouraging pros- 
pect, and nothing but the thoughts of home 
could prevent one continually drawing com- 
parisons very unfavourable to our country's 
climate. In the afternoon we passed Port- 
land Lighthouse, and saw green fields, and 
pleasant hedge-rows. Here we met the 
" lone fisher on the lonely sea, who, in the 
wild waters had been labouring, far from 
home, for some bleak pittance." For a 



358 

dollar, the only species of coin we possessed, 
we purchased as much fish as would have 
supplied a meal to a ship's company, and 
greatly did we enjoy it. Soon after this we 
passed a fleet of fishing boats, and sent 
letters on shore, too happy in the thought 
that we were sparing a few hours of anxiety 
to those who had so long been looking out 
for us. 

25th. We passed the North Foreland, 
and felt that we were at home. The little 
schooner, after her long and distant career 
had returned in safety, and though we had 
encountered more than our due share of 
severe gales and stormy weather, scarcely 
a sail or a spar had been carried away, and 
not a single sea had been shipped. That 
this had been so, may be attributed as much 
to the excellent seaworthy qualities of the 
yacht, as to the skill, and unwearying atten- 



359 

tion of her officers and crew. But now 
how quietly we glided up the river ! Our 
troubled, but joyous course over the wild 
waves was over, and the dull stream bore 
us on its sullen waters ! 

I could have grieved for the blue seas 
and the bluer skies that we had left behind 
us, but that I looked forward to happy 
meetings with long parted friends, and 
thought, with still deeper gratitude, on the 
Power which had preserved us through the 
many dangers, which threaten those " that 
go down to the sea in ships, and occupy 
their business in great waters." 

But our voyage up the river is ended, 
and preparations are making for leaving the 
yacht. I look round upon the hardy crew, 
who have shared our dangers, and foolish as 
it may seem, feel something very like a 
heaviness of heart, when I remember that 



360 

I shall never see the shipmates of so many 
months collected together on that deck 
again. But still more do I regret to part 
from my home upon the waters — from the 
gallant vessel that has borne us in triumph 
through so many storms and dangers. 



END OF VOL. II. 



PRINTED BY W. NICOL, 60, PALI. MALI.. 



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